Luis Mendez and Waleska Sallaberry, publishers of the Natural Awakenings Puerto Rico (PR) edition for the past 15 years, were finally able to patch a call through to Natural Awakenings CEO Sharon Bruckman one week after Maria devastated their island.
Sharon listened as Luis described their situation, including the scarcity of food, water and supplies, and asked if they could use money to help them and their three children evacuate the island.
While their initial intention was to stay, Waleksa said this: “Our plans are uncertain, but we have to accept the sad reality that we might need to move to the U.S. indefinitely while PR recovers from this event and generate income to support our family, pay our bills and help our town in every way we can. We have never been good asking for help, as we are used to helping others, but we’ll be eternally grateful for any effort or initiative by our extended family! It will go a long way for all of us.”
**UPDATE** Luis is remaining in Puerto Rico to provide boots-on-the-ground rebuilding and Waleska and the children are relocating to the US mainland where resources are available to allow for optimal communications and coordination of efforts.
Why This Fund?
Rebuilding towns and cities takes money, supplies and labor. Rebuilding a community takes more. Your contribution to Luis and Waleska’s fund will go to the center of the holistic health and wellness community integrated throughout the island. It will help an entire network of businesses and organizations that are instrumental in bringing healing services so desperately needed at this time.
Luis and Waleska will be trustees of this fund, and will disseminate the proceeds to the people and organizations in the holistic health community in PR at their discretion.
Why Luis and Waleska?
When Luis and Waleska brought Natural Awakenings to PR, there was no publication like it on the island, or even a healthy living community to support it. But they knew they could make it work. Since that time they have been incredible community leaders:
In 2002, they published their first issue. The magazine immediately became the number one natural health and spiritual growth publication in PR, and the natural health and wellness community began to gather and celebrate under the NA banner.
In 2004, they presented their first event, Expo Calidad de Vida, which quickly became the most important natural health and wellness expo in PR and the Caribbean, attracting over 6,000 people annually.
In 2009, they launched Natural Health Network, today known as Natural Awakenings Network, the first holistic discount card through which subscribers have access to an extensive network of products and services focused on promoting total wellbeing. The program has over 250,000 members and a network of over 1,000 providers in PR and throughout the U.S.
In 2013, they launched Seeds for a New Humanity, a.k.a. Semillas, an alternative eco-school to satisfy the need for their children’s education and the PR west coast community.
Now, more than ever, the help of Natural Awakenings readers, advertisers and publishers from all over the U.S. is needed. Together, we can help bring Luis and Waleska home and shore up the livelihoods of our brothers and sisters maintaining small businesses in the health and wellness sector so that they can provide much-needed emotional, spiritual and physical healing to the people of PR in the challenging days to come.
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