Metro

Mass. United for Puerto Rico fund passes $2 million in donations

The latest figures out of Puerto Rico suggest that nearly 1 in 4 Puerto Ricans continues to lack access to fresh water and three-quarters of the island remains without power.
David Santiago/Miami Herald via Associated Press
The latest figures out of Puerto Rico suggest that nearly 1 in 4 Puerto Ricans continues to lack access to fresh water and three-quarters of the island remains without power.

Not quite five weeks since Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico, the Massachusetts United for Puerto Rico Fund has raised just over $2 million, according to Ted McEnroe, spokesman for The Boston Foundation.

The breakdown of that total includes more than 1,500 donations by individuals, as well as donations from businesses and fund-raising efforts.

“This is no time to falter in our resolve to help — when millions are without basic necessities such as water, housing and electricity,” said Paul S. Grogan, president and chief executive of The Boston Foundation, in a statement.

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The latest figures out of Puerto Rico suggest that nearly 1 in 4 Puerto Ricans continues to lack access to fresh water and three-quarters of the island remains without power, according to the Puerto Rican government’s website tracking the recovery progress since the hurricane.

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The advisory committee for the Massachusetts fund announced its first round of grants Oct. 13. Nine grants totaling $100,000 have been disbursed to community organizations on the island, including $15,000 to Casa Pueblo de Adjuntas to procure solar-powered lights in central parts of the island, and Centros Sor Isolina Ferre, which is collecting and distributing supplies on the southwestern coast of Puerto Rico.

Two local organizations each received a $3,750 grant to help defray the costs associated with transporting donated goods to Puerto Rico, including the Chelsea Collaborative, a social services nonprofit, and a Springfield-based church, Centro Cristiano Nacion De Jesus.

The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency received a $5,000 grant, which officials say will support the American Red Cross as it meets the needs of families relocating from Puerto Rico.

“We are continuing to identify and support grassroots organizations on the ground in Puerto Rico that can have the greatest impact on quality of life there,” Vanessa Calderon-Rosado, cochairwoman of Massachusetts United for Puerto Rico, said in a statement.

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“But we are also seeing where your generous donations can have the greatest impact for those relocating to Massachusetts.”

Information on where you can donate items to help Puerto Ricans:

Boston Public Schools will be collecting school supplies and winter clothing to help families affected by the hurricanes Saturday between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. at the BPS Fall Open House inside the Bruce C. Bolling Municipal Building, located at 2300 Washington St. in Roxbury.

School officials are encouraging people to inquire with their local school, place of worship, or other community organizations about the drives they may be hosting.

Nonprofit Sociedad Latina will collect items for families relocating to Massachusetts from Puerto Rico this week and next. On Thursday and Friday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., families arriving from Puerto Rico can access donations, register children for school, and apply for SNAP, MassHealth, and housing at the organizations headquarters at 1530 Tremont St., according to Sociedad Latina’s Lydia Emmons. Donations can be dropped off at that location between 9:30 a.m. and 7 p.m. on Thursday, 9:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. on Friday, and between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Saturday.

Sociedad Latina is collecting clean fall and winter clothing for men, women, and children as well as backpacks and school supplies for elementary, middle, and high school students, non-perishable food items, personal hygiene products, and gift cards. For those interested in donating or volunteering to help sort donations, email Sociedad Latina at info@sociedadlatina.org.

Cristela Guerra can be reached at cristela.guerra@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @CristelaGuerra.