Helping the people of Puerto Rico

$76,428 of $75,000 goal

Raised by 241 people in 22 months
Over the past few weeks I have realized that I am in a unique position to help multiple people on the island that really need it.  I have also realized that this is going to be a long term effort.  At the end of the day communities need to come together to make a difference.  With small donations here and there we are making big strides.  As a group the teams I am working with have supplied meals to FEMA workers, accomplished food and clothes drives, aided doctors in the storage and distribution of medicine, gotten supplies to an orphanage that was forgotten in the aid process, sent supplies and staff to help cook over 1000 meals for the people of Loiza, got involved in community clean-ups, given out ice, and helped shelter team members that had no place to go, get 262 people through the actual storm, and get a hotel open to help over 400 people keep their jobs.  These are a few things and many people are contributing to these successes. 

My pitch is if you feel like helping go to your favorite charity and do so.  There are many great ones.  On my side I am asking you to have faith in me.  I am going to give money where it can make a difference on the ground.  I have people and groups I can coordinate with to get to people in real need.  Today is $500 to get water to an Orphanage, $1,000 to get food and a meeting with the local ICE leaders to get long term help.  No idea what the opportunity or need will be tomorrow.  What I promise is our time and heart to the effort.  I will make sure that every dollar goes to relief.  I promise to update you at each point and make you proud of what we are doing.

Thank you in advance for anything you can do.  Warm thoughts and prayers are just as appreciated.

As this is getting extended out gofundme has asked to clarify a few items.  First my name is William Ben Tutt and my wifeis Adeliz Tutt and we live in San Juan Puerto Rico.  My wifes family is from the Humacao area and we are focusing our efforts in this area.  We do not know most of the people we am helping.  Currently the people with the greater need.  We have people going around the area to identify need.  The majority of donations to the people are food that we buy but may include items needed for daily life when you have nothing.  We are personally paying these expenses and will reinburse ourselfs as we submit receipts.  We are also ordering bulk through the hotel I run and will write checks directly there once we have recieved the items.  I am working with serveral different groups identied in my updates that are helping me with time and labor.  We are not paying for these.  All efforts are intended to be voluntier.   We have a seperate account set-up for this at Banco Popular.  This account includes addition funds for the effort that were directly deposited.  This will allow for specific accounting of all funds.
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Happy holidays to all. It has been a whirlwind of activity the last few weeks. For those that don't know in Puerto Rico the holidays go from December through to January with the finally event La Calle de San Sebastian festival in Old San Juan.

The other big events for the holiday time are Christmas and Three Kings day. We have been doing significant work to try and help during this time. The main issue to start with was toys and Vieques. My birthday wish was to get an aid trip to Vieques that got sidetracked several times due to about every issue that could come up. So here is the toy process: In the last update we had mentioned several groups we were working with to get toys for Vieques. This was an amazing/bizarre process. We worked with YPO to help get 10K in toys to the island that they organized donations on. When this happened we got hooked up with Toys for Tots through the U.S. Marine core. They had 45K in toys for the U.S.V.I.'s and PR. Ended up just had to ask for the toys from them. A big thank you to Sargent Shepard for delivering 408 of those toys to us for the children of Vieques. We owned this part of the effort. The other toys are being coordinated with Toys for Tots and several other groups. We may get back involved with this next week, TBD. Once we had the toy's we went to work to assemble food and water to go with the shipment. Thank you to many people for the extra packing effort including new comer from Jackson WY Alex Klein and Jessica Huamann with FEMA that originated our contact that led to toys. Once we had this together the issue became transportation. I'll cut this short but we spent the whole week trying to figure this out and Ady finally came through, thanks to Betzaida Velez, with military transport through the National Guard, no shit. The guard first offered us helicopter transport but we had too much weight to fly. We ended up in two landing crafts one from the Korean War and one from WWII. To say this was cool is an understatement. In the end we got to Vieques and distributed everything in the main square. A true military operation, up at 0500 and back home at 1900.

We adopted another class at our grade school thanks to the Klein family. Alex my old boss, and for Christmas week Uncle Alex, came down and rallied his family to raise money for the cause. We adopted the 5th grade class in honor of his daughter who is in the same grade. In the end Alex, my father, and Ady ended up adopting the whole school and made sure every kid got a gift. They also supplied school supplies, cleaning supplies, and yes toilet paper to help them operate. NICE JOB GUYS!

We adopted a couple of Families in Mabu for the holidays. One of our friends from Robinson school agreed to help fund a Christmas for a family of three girls and a single father. Ady made several trips and my mother went along for the final delivery of toys and clothes for the girls. Everyone helped with this farm family. We will probably end up with a pig or a few chickens out of this one. Abuela, our kid’s great grandmother has already gotten chicken from him.

Through Ady and her aunt, Firo, efforts they have been working on a community outside Fajardo. We were able to supply food to this area again through the church. Ady made her first personal trip here this week and I know we will be back. Looks like we may be fixing a house or finding someone to help with it. The big win here was thanks to our good friend Amaury. He went to Church on Christmas day and was given a large amount of toys to give away. He called Ady and by the end of Christmas day Firo, Amaury, and the priest in Fajardo had distributed all the toys to needy kids in this area. This was simply amazing. Hard to describe the emotion of the group in Fajardo that had no idea this was going to happen. At first no one believed it would happen. Services in Fajardo had ended and all parishioners went home but Amaury insisted and the Priest started calling and the people literally came out of the hills. Gifts were given away and it ended with the team going out to the other needy families to personally give them toys. A lot of sacrifice on Christmas day when people could have just said I am going to stay home and we can do this another day. Everyone was reluctant at first and overwhelmed in the end.

Some good news in Mabu. Relief efforts made it here. FEMA was there but still no real relief just assessment to later distributions.

In Casas de Hugo Ady stopped by to make another delivery to the women with the special needs daughter. No way would Ady let this family go without a Christmas present.

A joint effort for the future has been done with the Grand Teton Lodge and my mother. Alex was able to get his team to help source and order solar lights that we will be distributing in the next month. A big thank you to Mom and Dad for dropping a credit card for 1000 lights.

Items we are working on and other groups

Toys was the big push. As with above we did well. We still have the potential of a significant delivery and giving help to Toys for Tots through Sargent Shepard and the Masons for three king’s day.

Renace Condado and Amaury have become a permanent part of almost all our efforts lately. A big thank you to him.

Thank you to the loyal team of Maribel and Elliot. Also Christina who helped with packing. The National Guard team at Roosevelt Roads, Vieques Love, Vieques Girls and Boys Club, Mark Martin, Helen Davis, Karen the best Uber ever, National Guard team at Hato Rey base, Principle Arnaldo Lebron, Yelitza, the Vanderbilt team that constantly puts up with me making them move and help, National Guard team from Fort Buchannan go team Rosario.

Mar Azul has taken on some relief work with other groups and is running at full speed.

Next issue may be blankets as winter roles in and many roofs have tarps. It is a constant comment of people flying into the island that they are amazed by the number of blue tarps.

Go Team Vieques
School day
Our transportation
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Helped this last week get supplies for a public school. Delivered things they needed including food, backpacks, cleaning supplies, miscellaneous supplies for the kids and believe it or not toilet paper. We had another great group of guests from NY and Nigeria that got most of the items for the kids and we did the food and supplies for the school. The guest was celebrating a birthday and the kids did a great job of singing and congratulating him.
The smiles were awesome
They got spirit
Best birthday gift of the day
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Hello all. Apologies for not updating in a bit but a lot going on. We have been packing and out in the field in multiple locations. Highlighted areas:

Fajardo working with one of the local Church congregations to deliver tarps and food. This has been a great effort as this group assesses areas and we are able to get supplies to areas in need quicker. We have supported 53 families in the last few weeks and have put tarps on about a dozen homes.

Humacao and the El Mabu area. We went back to this area and honestly a little scary. We did food deliveries and handed out items for the kids. When have adopted a few people in this area and are looking at trying to impact a few families more significantly for the Christmas time frame. The tough part is people are abandoning homes because of damage and moving out. Also not any relief efforts here.

Humacao Casas de Hugo. This area was a little better. FEMA had come through at the start of the week and done assessments on the houses for relief efforts. We made a few deliveries and had planned to start some efforts on roof repairs but backed off due to FEMA efforts.

Pena Pobre made a few deliveries in Ady's home town.

Items we are working on with other groups.

The biggest item we are working on is toys for Christmas and Three Kings day. Working with several groups here and hoping to make a significant impact. Our personal focus is Vieques for three kings day and Some select families in Humacao. This effort is working with YPO, Marco Rubio, Mar Azul, and the hotel.

Met with Mar Azul group on a conference of next steps. This group is part of Young Life and we have found many mutually beneficial tasks. They have a significant presence in the relief efforts. They have created a network of Christian churches and business people to help distribute around the island. On the above we are hoping to get 10,000 toys for them to distribute.

This week working with the hotel and a guest to provide school supplies for a kindergarten class in Barrio Rio Guaynabo, 50 full sets. In addition we will give food and clean supplies.

Meet with one of the FEMA area directors this week and one of their coordinators. We are trying to see how we can help bridge one of the programs that they have for roof repairs. There is an issue that some people do no qualify and we may be able to help them qualify. They are also trying to help in the toy effort.

Those are the individual efforts. We moved our packing operation to the hotel today from our home. It was becoming a little tough.

Our focuse is switching to next steps. There are many issues but the lack of power is the most significant in getting things back to normal. We will continue to do our food and water efforts with special goods and toys in specific areas but are looking at other needs. Specific issues continue to come up where I believe we will be able to provide additional benefit. Also as power comes back and areas normalize we will be doing less deliveries and encourage people to go get what they need. This effort is focused on working with supermarkets, hardware/home repair stores, and furniture stores to give out store gift cards at a discount so people get more for the money. The main goal is to get people out and involved in there own recovery and not getting them used to setting at home and receiving. People need to get involved and need to get hope. They need to move for their own good but it is honestly hard, people crumble. The mental toll of this on people and the psychological challenges are unreal. No power, no ability to cook, no phone, no sanitation, no stores, no normal, it is devastating. We are over 60 days past the event and this is what people are living with. It is hard to describe.

We are extremely luck where we are. I am still thankful daily that we are able to make a difference. Thank all of you for keeping us in this. We do a lot with a little. The best part is to this point money is not what stops us.

On to the next adventure. Its Wednesday, we pack food bags on Wednesdays.
One of our christmas families
Your Tarps in action
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Another great day with some amazing people. We had a wedding group in the hotel that wanted to do a day to help the community In Puerto Rico. They took the time to bring bags of necessities for young, old, men, and women. With your donations we supplied the food and water. Rio Grande was the destination today, Hong King was the neighborhood. Some fun people and some tough situations. The key to all this is to keep moving, just keep smiling, and use good manners with respect. Better be ready to give a hug as well. Had a five year old girl walk next to the supply car I was driving for a good portion of our time. She learned English from TV and was so exited about the gifts that she wanted to show us off. Very cool kid with lots of charisma. The tough one was an older man that was by himself and had lost his wife earlier this year. Just wasn’t very happy. I gave him a sucker and started calling him Don. This is a term of respect and it brightened up his mood. We got him food and water. When we left his smile and the wave of a sucker through the air was priceless.
Veterans weekend and found a proud one
Handing out food and water
Great team today giving back
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$76,428 of $75,000 goal

Raised by 241 people in 22 months
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