Hurricane Maria Relief

My mom, stepdad and younger sibling were impacted by Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria.  Living in Vega Baja, Puerto Rico three miles from the shore of the north coast, their home was spared as Hurricane Irma’s eye skirted just north of the coast, but with Hurricane Maria, their town was in the eye of the second hurricane. Now Vega Baja is official declared a disaster zone. With hardly any time to prepare, they did whatever they could to keep themselves as a family safe which they succeeded with Irma and I assume with Maria although I have not heard from them since 9/20 at 1:30am(MST) [Update: 9/25 I heard via my stepdad's aunt that they are alive]. Cell towers are out. Puerto Rico has no power and electricity is unlikely to be restored for a year. Mudslides and flashfloods are continuing to be likely in the island leaving Puerto Rico a lot to recover from.

Because of years of economic strain, the electricity infrastructure in Puerto Rico is outdated and fragile hence it taking a year's time to recover. There is no telling when they will get power back for their home or where they work. As small business owners of a handmade jewelry store and watch repairs, not working means no income or security.

This crowdfund is two part:
1. MOST IMMEDIATE: Fund the immediate needs of support to take care of compiling bills without income due to Hurricane Irma's and especially Hurricane Maria's damage.
2. Help them build the funds to return to the mainland and get out of the crumbling economy of Puerto Rico post-Hurricane Maria.

About me, my name is Pınar and I live in Colorado. I am the daughter of Sonia, who is the beneficiary of this campaign. My mother already is confirmed as a beneficiary and is the only one who can withdraw funds. How the funds will be spent is listed below under "Their Needs". 

My mother and me.

Their Story

My mom, Sonia, immigrated from Perú. After several break-ins while growing up in Lima and getting death threats from militant political groups, my grandmother took her children and immigrated to the United States in hopes to find security for her family. We come from a lineage of survivors. My grandmother is Andina from Izcuchaca and is the last generation to carry Quechua as her mother tongue. My mother has survived domestic abuse, poverty and intergenerational trauma to name a few. My mother has a heart of gold and incredible work ethic through enduring what she has in her life.

Between 2010-2015 while living in Arizona, my mom got certified as a phlebotomist. Due to ageism (the tendency for older technicians to be discriminated against due to their age), she never moved up from working 6pm-6am night shifts in spite of her excellent work ethic and commitment to her job. She was a phlebotomist patients were delighted by with her smile that could melt any heart. This work schedule began to impact her health and she never saw her family. My step-father as an A/C technician was in no short of demand near Phoenix, but working on rooftops at over 100 degree weather for over a decade was getting to be too physically demanding in his mid fifties. Meanwhile, my teen sibling was struggling with extreme states of consciousness, psychosis, drug addiction and suicidality. Having racked $90K from ambulances and psychiatric hospital bills, they left unable to pay for it. Their credit score is nilch.

My sibling and me.

Seeing that something urgently needed to change, they decided to move to Puerto Rico in 2015 where there was my mother’s sister, brother, nieces and a nephew. They were going to finally be business owners and work for themselves. They took out everything they had, sold their house, my stepdad took out his 401K and moved to Puerto Rico for hopes of a better life around family. This did not pan out the way they hoped with the economic state of Puerto Rico not getting any better. With a struggle to make $30/day in their business, it is clear it is not sustainable. Now with the catastophic damage of Maria, it is clearly time to leave.

My stepdad and mom.

With Hurricane Irma and now Hurricane Maria's impact, there is no hope in Puerto Rico left for them as a family. Impact after impact of trying to make it work, they are deciding to return back. They have nothing left since they invested all their funds to shipping their life from the mainland to Puerto Rico, to building a house and starting anew. They are all citizens of the United States. They need our support to start again in the mainland and recover.

Unfortunately, with the economic state in Puerto Rico and especially the impact of Hurricane Irma & Maria, no one will be buying a car, furnishings, etc. My mom is going to leave everything behind since it is an additional expense to ship everything back ($5K to ship their family car, $20K to ship their furniture, memories and other belongings). In her words, she is in a hole in Puerto Rico’s economic state and would leave everything in a heartbeat if it meant bringing back her family (including her two dogs and cat) to the mainland of the United States.

23767438_15050690820_r.jpegHer dogs, Zoe & Dinky.

23767438_15050691190_r.jpegHer cat, Mila.

Their Needs

With Puerto Rico being without electricity for at least several months if not a year, they are needing immediate support of:

$2500/month to cover monthly bills/needs for 3 person household x 4 months support = $10K

For their return back to the mainland (as soon as they have the funds):

Airplane tickets from San Juan to Phoenix:

$250/per person x 3 = $750

$100/per pet x 3 = $300

Total airfare around $1050

Vet bill certificate $100/per pet x 3 = $300

Transition to Employment in Phoenix:

$1100/month rent for 2 bedroom apartment x 4 = $4400

Used car (since they'll be leaving theirs in PR) = $3000

Total estimated expenses $18,750

7.9% GoFundMe fee  = $1580

Goal of $20,330

Any support you would be willing to offer would be greatly appreciated. This could look like a donation no matter the size. It could be sharing this with your network.

Thank you!

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Organizer and beneficiary

Pınar Ateş Sinopoulos-Lloyd 
Boulder, CO
Sonia Stubbs 
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