Some of you already know that learning how to salsa dance has been one of my favorite things about living in Puerto Rico. I took lessons for the last year from an organization called Cambio en Clave. Their focus is not only teaching dance but also creating social change through the arts. So it's very serendipitous that right after I heard about the cargo offer, I saw a facebook post from my salsa teacher, the founder of Cambio en Clave. He was requesting help to gather 250 five gallon buckets to be shipped to San Juan. These buckets were going to be used in conjuction with donated water filters that would create clean drinking water for thousands of people!!! As clean drinking water is very scarce after Hurricane Maria, especially in the country areas, I knew that this was a specific way to fill an immediate need and so I quickly got to work.
We had to figure out how to package the most buckets possible in 6 large boxes. I used more math than I have in a longgggg time...dimensions of the boxes, buckets, etc. Then the search began for the size boxes that we needed. We bought 120 buckets from Home Depot and they were kind enough to price match the bulk price from their website. Then off to Costco to buy other items that we could put inside the buckets, making the most of our space and weight for the cargo shipment. We bought hundreds of feminine products and mulitple cases of canned food, chicken, tuna, beans. After a long night assembling the boxes at the Delta facility in Detroit, we said goodbye to SIX giant boxes, each one weighing between 75-100 pounds. And Delta didn't charge us one penny for the shipping fees. (Thank you Delta!!!)
Many of you have asked me how you can help and in some way, I felt like this was a communal project from all of us. All of our hands assembled the boxes, all of our love went into these packages whose supplies will provide clean water for so many people. This was so amazing...to know that simple paint buckets from a Home Depot in Detroit were going to literally save people from thirst and sickness. Without sounding cheesy, I can only tell you that I felt like this was a gesture of love coming from a community of people, all of us, all of YOU.
I spent a total of $1100 on this shipment of supplies and would love to try and have some of that amount covered by those of you who have asked how you can help. I know that normally you should campaign ahead of buying donations however I was in a time constraint to recieve the free shipping and I hope you can understand. If you are unable to contribute financially, please keep praying for Puerto Rico. And if by any chance, we surpass the limit I have set, it will fund my next set of donations I will deliver on my next trip home.
Help me help my neighbors, these people who have so little and yet are full of so much joy, these people that I have grown to love so much. I thought I was only signing up for salsa classes last year. Little did I know that my connection to Cambio en Clave would lead me to opportunities to serve others. This is the highest calling, to help one another. Let's keep this momentum of love moving forward. This is what it's all about.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
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