Relief for Cayo Santiago Employees

$65,415 of $65,000 goal

Raised by 746 people in 6 months
Our colleagues and friends from the Caribbean Primate Research Center (CPRC) in Puerto Rico need our help. A number of colleagues have experienced devastating losses due to Hurricane Maria and are facing extreme day-to-day challenges including lack of basic supplies, food, and water.  This harrowing message was painted on the streets of Punta Santiago, just meters from the CPRC main office.

This fundraiser has been organized by Cayo Santiago alumni to directly support the employees and their families of the Caribbean Primate Research Center, i.e. employees of Cayo Santiago and Sabana Seca Field Stations, and the community of Punta Santiago. 

We are working directly with Angie Ruiz-Lambides, Associate Director of the Cayo Santiago Field Station, to identify needs for CPRC employees and receive recommendations on how these funds can best be directed. Additionally, we are working with our partners on the ground in Punta Santiago to coordinate delivery of supplies purchased with funds from this campaign.

Please see our updates below for more information about how relief efforts funded by this campaign have evolved since Hurricane Maria hit the island of Puerto Rico on September 20th. 

Those wishing to support emergency measures to rebuild the Cayo Santiago field station can donate via the associated campaign found here: https://www.gofundme.com/cayo-santiago-monkeys-maria-relief.

This campaign is led by Amanda Accamando (Cayo Santiago 2004-2007) with support from many other friends and alumni of Cayo Santiago. Funds from this campaign will be withdrawn by Amanda and delivered directly to Cayo Santiago staff as well as be used to purchase and deliver supplies (as recommended by Cayo Santiago staff) to the Punta Santiago community. 
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On this #GivingTuesday please consider making a donation in support of the community of Punta Santiago. It has been 69 days since Hurricane Maria destroyed the research facility of Cayo Santiago and left Punta Santiago in ruins. Our fundraising efforts have been able to provide food, supplies, and lanterns to many in the community and provide significant financial support to the staff of Cayo Santiago. But it is clear that it will take many more months and funds to restore what so many have lost.

Don Alfonso, pictured in the photos below in his 'home', lives directly in front of the CPRC office facility in Punta Santiago. He is living in extremely difficult conditions, isolated to a small square in the back of his house that remains. The blue tarps are unable to withstand the amount of rain that Punta Santiago has seen since Maria and the mold is already starting to cover all of his property and belongings. Staff from Cayo Santiago are close with Don Alfonso and describe him as 'loving'. They have reached out to at least three local organizations for help rebuilding his house with no success.

At the end of December a team of volunteers will help with rebuilding homes in Punta Santiago, including Don Alfonso's. Materials for the rebuilding are needed, however. So, remaining funds from the GoFundMe campaign and any NEW donations that come in will go directly toward rebuilding Don Alfonso's home.
Don Alfonso and his home
What remains of the kitchen
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Earlier this week Angie Ruiz Lambides (Associate Director of Cayo Santiago) and Giselle Caraballo Cruz (Colony Manager), were able to go door to door in Punta Santiago and deliver 370 solar-powered LuminAID lanterns purchased with funds from this GoFundMe campaign. 100% of the Parcelas and La Playa sectors in Punta Santiago are now lit by these lanterns! Thanks to all of you for making this possible!

61% of Puerto Rico remains in the dark and there are still hundreds of residences in Punta Santiago that are without a lantern. We plan to send another shipment of lanterns out ASAP and any donations through the next few days will go toward bringing light to Punta Santiago. A $10 donation will provide light for one family! Please help us continue to spread the word and keep Puerto Rico in everyone's thoughts.
Angie delivers a lantern in Punta
Cooking by lantern light in Punta
Inflating a new lantern
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Good news! The shipping container that contained numerous boxes of supplies we prepared for Punta Santiago arrived this week! These boxes contained toiletries, batteries, food, and clothing - all of which were purchased using your generous donations to this campaign. Supplies were transferred to Punta Santiago yesterday and will be distributed to community members and Cayo Staff.

Over the last couple of weeks we've been learning more about how badly Punta Santiago was impacted by Hurricane Maria. In a community of about 5,000 people, 58 homes have lost a roof and 46 families have lost their home completely. Although the community now has running water, that water is not potable, so all drinking water continues to be boiled first. Punta Santiago is part of the 75% of the country that remains in the dark.

It has become clear that restoring power and telecommunications will take months and lanterns/lights are greatly needed. With funds from this campaign we have been able to purchase 370 solar-charged lanterns for Punta Santiago community members and those should arrive within the next few days.

We would love to send more lanterns to Punta Santiago, so please continue to share this fundraiser so that we can keep Puerto Rico at the forefront of all of our minds. We are about $6000 from our goal!!! With your help we can get there and make a small difference in the lives of many.

A welcome sight to CPRC
Cayo staff unloading supplies
Thank you from the Cayo Santiago staff!
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Our team has been very active over the past four days preparing for our first shipping container of supplies to set sail from Florida this afternoon! This shipment is filled with batteries, toiletries, dried and preserved foods, adult and children’s clothing, cleaning supplies, and water – all purchased with funds from this campaign! These supplies for Cayo Santiago staff will be accompanied by construction materials, generators, and tools - that are being purchased through funds raised by our partner campaign - to support the rebuilding of the Cayo Santiago Research Facility. The shipping container is due to arrive next week in Puerto Rico.

On the ground in Punta Santiago travel is beginning to improve as streets are being cleared of debris. Yesterday, Angie Ruiz distributed additional supplies purchased with the funds from this campaign to Cayo staff. Those supplies included food, water, baby supplies (diapers, wipes, formula, soap and baby food) and water filters. Supplies were also distributed to Punta Santiago community members that have supported and housed students and researchers from Cayo Santiago. Leftover baby supplies were taken to a local church for distribution in the greater Punta Santiago area.

Although supplies are starting to move thanks to the dedicated efforts of Cayo’s staff, it’s clear that it will be months before things normalize. Communication is still down, lines at ATMS and supermarkets are long, and store shelves are bare. This is compounded by the destruction of people’s houses: loss of windows and doors, flooded mattresses and furniture, and dirty homes due to receding sewage-filled flood waters.

We will continue to need your support as entire lives must be rebuilt. Please continue to share the story of Cayo Santiago and its dedicated employees. Also, be sure to check out this video produced by NYU to learn more about the history of Cayo Santiago and the impact Hurricane Maria had on the island and its monkey residents: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T7YPTEBmnV8

Photos below credited to Erica Dunayer, Angie Ruiz-Lambides, Giselle Caraballo-Cruz.
Bins of food/supplies headed for Punta
Supply distribution yesterday in Punta
Empty shelves at Costco
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$65,415 of $65,000 goal

Raised by 746 people in 6 months
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