Hurricane Maria Relief Efforts by Edward Ramirez

I’m sure that many Americans are aware of the devastating aftermath caused by Hurricane Maria on the island of Puerto Rico. In addition to the widespread destruction to the land and personal property, the category 4 hurricane has left upwards of three million people without electricity, suitable drinking water, and other basic necessities. The recovery work far exceeds the number of available hands, the supplies are already almost completely depleted, and the cost to rebuild ‘LA Isla del Encanto’ will continue to add up for many years to come.

Readers of are familiar with recovery efforts sponsored by local groups such as Congresso de Latinos Unidos in Philadelphia and national organizations such as the Red Cross and the Salvation Army. There is another group of individuals whose efforts will probably go largely unacknowledged—if acknowledged at all. Recently, residents of SCI-Graterford, in partnership with State Representative for the 197th district of Philadelphia, Mr. Emilio Vasquez, proposed to raise funds for humanitarian aid. The residents of this institution are looking to make official what they have already done: make personal donations to various groups to support those in need. One individual, Dean Troutman—a long-term resident, coordinated with his congregation of Jehovah Witnesses and through their church in San Juan they are providing relief to their immediate community. Puerto Rico is our immediate community; just as New Orleans was our home to rebuild after Katrina, as New Jersey was our shore to clean up after Sandy, and as Houston was our to neighbor whom we opened our doors to—so to is Puerto Rico and its citizens our land and our people to love and provide support in this greatest time need.

Anyone interested in joining the effort can contact Aissia Richardson, chief-of-staff to State Rep. Vasquez, by emailing or call 215-457-5281. Any donation of food, supplies, and/or funds will go a long way to helping our brothers and sisters now when they need it most. Your assistance is the most important.

By Edward Ramirez, 9/28/2017


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