Early on Wednesday, September 20, Hurricane Maria — a powerful Category 4 hurricane with 150 mph winds — made direct landfall on Puerto Rico, bisecting the entire island and drenching it with feet of rain. What’s happened since has been truly catastrophic for Puerto Rico.
There’s still little power on the island. In many places, there’s still no water to drink or bathe in or to flush toilets. There’s limited food and cell service, and dozens of remote villages have been completely cut off from everything for weeks.
These are US Citizens we are talking about - 3.4 million US citizens live in Puerto Rico. Some residents might not see their power restored until early 2018 and the financial situation is equally as dire.
FEMA says the government is providing 200,000 meals a day, but there was a shortfall of 2 million meals a day.
Further, “In a matter of hours, Hurricane Maria wiped out about 80 percent of the crop value in Puerto Rico,” the New York Times reports. That amounts to a $780 million loss. The island imports 85 percent of its food, but the destruction of its agricultural sector is likely to increase prices and exacerbate the scary prospect of continued food shortages on the island.
Food is a massive need on the island, accordingly the purpose of our trip. We will be partnering with Fundacion El Plato Caliente, cooking meals and working the kitchen to help feed thousands of Puerto Ricans with no other options for food. https://www.facebook.com/elplatocalientepr/
Besides proving critically needed meals, El Plato Caliente's mission is reopening all the restaurants that closed due to the passing of Hurricane María. Unemployment, lack of access to food, and skyrocketing costs have left the masses unable to find or pay for food, El Plato is feeding the people, but also employing those with no other options and working feverishly to invest in reopening small businesses that can't do it by themselves. El Plato's goal is to be able to give these folks supplies to reopen, equipment, training for their staff and help them with their social media strategy.
The government of Puerto Rico is overwhelmed. The people have little if anything to eat, the daily struggle to access clean water and food consumes much of their lives. For 7 days, we will be on the ground in San Juan, but you can help us. Together, we can make a difference. I am personally covering the cost of my team’s airfare, accommodations and travel. This means that every cent of your donation goes directly towards filling the urgent needs of food, clean drinking water, and other critical supplies.
Here is exactly where your donation will go: $19 = food for 5 days for 1 person , $76 = food for a month for one person , feeding a person for a year = $988. Running the kitchen itself, employing 10 otherwise unemployed Puerto Ricans costs $7,000 per month - there is no profit source, this is all donation based! Literally every single dollar you contribute is vastly needed.
I'll be sending daily updates with photos and stories to show where the donations are being spent. During this time of giving and the transition to a new year, we can come together to make a difference! No donation is too small - everything counts. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I love you all.
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