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RISE PUERTO RICO

$5,525 of $100,000 goal

Raised by 75 people in 23 months
"Never worry about numbers. Help one person at a time and always start with the person nearest you." - Mother Teresa

As you all may have heard, Puerto Rico is still at risk. Hurricane Maria has been the largest hurricane to hit Puerto Rico since 1928. Never has the Atlantic seen a hurricane with such a devastating aftermath of destruction and despair. Loss of life has been heartbreaking. So many families have lost their homes, all their possessions, and are still living in the dark with little access to food, water, and basic need items. 

My name is Eileen Riestra. I was born and raised in Puerto Rico and am currently living in Boston. I hear firsthand from friends and family, about the sad realities in my homeland. I have set up this relief fund to help Puertorricans living through this nightmare, who are in immediate need of basic items. Ultimately, our goal is to help them rebuild their homes. All proceeds will go directly towards this cause. 

We will not allow the wonderful people of Puerto Rico to bear this alone. We will help Puerto Rico Rise. For this, and many other reasons, I am determined to raise $100,000 to benefit the families in Puerto Rico as they struggle through this unprecedented humanitarian crisis. Rise Puerto Rico!

ALL the money collected will be used to buy home supplies and construction materials.

We will be purchasing:
- Bed Mattresses / Bed Sheets
- Immediate Need Supplies (generators, fans, clothes, diapers, batteries, food) 
- Basic Home Supplies / Furniture
- Doors/ Windows
- Construction Materials
- Roof Materials


Any help is appreciated. Any donation, however large or small, will make a difference.
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Today is a day of thanksgiving for the Rosa Family. They received electricity in their home after 8 long months and they can now rest with comfort. It has been a long road for many Puerto Ricans, and I just wanted to thank all the people who have offered up prayers, gifts, and sympathy to those families in need.
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Thank you for helping me RISE Puerto Rico.

Your contribution during the aftermath of Hurricane Maria helped serve no less than seven families with urgent needs! With your support, I was able to hand-deliver portable generators, food, clothes, and first-aid and emergency medical supplies during my trip to Puerto Rico in November. Gracias.

I saw first-hand the impact of the hurricane, its destruction, and the devastating recovery work that remains for its residents. And believe me when I say that it is overwhelming on a much bigger scale that anyone could imagine. In order to help as many families and people as possible, I have decided to partner with Asociación Intercambio Cultural (AIC), a non-profit organization whose mission is to promote and offer educational activities for d the women of Puerto Rico by helping to enrich their personal development and leadership skills. These are some of the people who are most needy at this time.

As we gather with our families and friends surrounded by lights and warmth during the last days of this holiday season, I humbly ask you to join me in thinking about Puerto Rico and those who may especially need us. Let Puerto Rico know that we have not forgotten them. Please consider supporting the work of Asociación Intercambio Cultural (AIC). Your generosity will fund a generator to provide electricity so that they can functionally operate in 2018.

Donate today. Every dollar counts!
http://www.aicpuertorico.org

Best wishes for a Happy New Year,

Eileen Riestra
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Today is ‘#givingtuesday’ and, as I sit here in the comfort of an airplane traveling back to my home in Boston, and I say comfort because it is not hot, there is power and I am not concerned for my safety, I feel the need to write and share what I experienced this past week in Puerto Rico.

I traveled to my homeland, Puerto Rico, to help victims of Hurricane Maria. Most of the island is still without power and running water. Some people have been without power since Hurricane Irma - more than 2 months ago. I did not read about this or hear about it - I saw it - and so I ask you, please continue to send help.

My Travel Journal:

Tuesday November 14 - Today I arrived in Puerto Rico and delivered a suitcase full of supplies to Daly, Wanda, Maria, Mariam, Nany, and Soco, my friends whose families have suffered deeply after the hurricane. When I arrived at their houses in the Metro Area, it was pitch black. They told me they hadn’t had electricity since Hurricane Irma. That day marked their 55th day without electricity. They didn’t have a generator in their house, making life much harder for their family members with medical conditions. Thanks to the generosity of others that have supported my efforts in the Rise Puerto Rico Go Fund Me Campaign, I was able to use $500 from the funds to help them purchase a generator. I was also able to share with them Rise Puerto Rico T-shirts that were generously donated by Bordados Revere. They were all so happy to be part of the families that Rise Puerto Rico has ‘adopted’. I ended the day by traveling to my parents’ house in Dorado where they still had no electricity. I only had one bar of AT&T cellular signal and was not able to communicate much. This makes relief efforts much harder for those trying to get help to those in need.
Wednesday, November 15 - I drove back to Guaynabo, the Metro Area, traveling via the highway. The traffic signals were not working, there were no police officers to direct traffic, and people were acting as traffic officials to help with the chaos. All around I could see broken electric poles, downed trees, debris from houses that had been torn apart, roofs, and huge traffic congestions in every corner. People were trying to get to their jobs despite all the obstacles in their paths.
November 16-19 - I visited each of the houses of the families that we are providing help to. I couldn’t stop crying while hearing their stories and seeing that, still, the only help they had gotten since the Hurricane made landfall was the help from Rise Puerto Rico. I took pictures to make sure I could share what I saw. When I went back to my parents’ house, I tried to connect with other Puerto Ricans to see how we could provide help from within the island. There are many locals that have been providing help and coordinating relief efforts and I wanted to make sure I could help once I left the island. I didn’t want to leave my beautiful Puerto Rico in this time of need and was not going to rest until I was assured someone on the island could serve as my contact to continue aiding these families. A huge thank you to Natalia Rovira, Carmen Lissette Sotomayor, Claudia Flores, Enid Figueroa, Nicci Brian, and Cristina Mendez for helping me give back hope. I know that because of their generous donations, these families are no longer feeling alone or falling into despair.

Monday, November 20 - This marked my last day in Puerto Rico. I received a called from Daly who was crying and seemed desperate. Her sister Marilu and her handicapped daughter had no place to sleep that night. I was lucky enough to meet up with a friend who has connections with the first lady of Puerto Rico and we were able to put Marilu in contact with the mayor of her city to see if they could help her with housing.
Tuesday, November 21 - I traveled to Orlando to meet up with my family for Thanksgiving week. When I arrived at the airport, I saw multitudes of Puerto Ricans who had left the island they had called home their entire lives in hopes of finding a better life. There were signs up around the airport to direct incoming families to job placement information personnel. Once I was able to get a reliable Internet connection, something I didn't have while in Puerto Rico, I was able to connect with more people in Puerto Rico via Facebook. I now have an established on-the-ground network in Puerto Rico that is helping with the efforts of Rise Puerto Rico. With the help of 6 generous souls, these Rise Puerto Rico ‘adopted’ families were able to receive more aid just in time for Thanksgiving.
Monday, November 27 - I connected with my creative colleagues in Puerto Rico who were seeking my help to find jobs in the creative field. Many of my colleagues from Puerto Rico are either in Florida or NYC trying find employment since they lost theirs due to hurricane.
Tuesday, November 28 - I reflect, I cry, I write, and I support #givingtuesday via Rise Puerto Rico.

The work is not over. Puerto Rico is hurting. These few days are just a small bit of time spent on an island that is living through the worst humanitarian crisis the island has seen in more than 100 years. People are tired, they are desperate, families are hurting. We have helped several families, but my friends have shared so many stories of families that they know are affected in the same way as the families we have helped. Puerto Rico had infrastructure problems before the hurricane made landfall. This has made it incredibly hard to re-establish power on the island. I don’t want to stop here. I want to keep fighting to bring back the Puerto Rico I know, the one I grew up in. But I can’t do this alone. Please help me. Help spread the word. Share this story. Share our Rise Puerto Rico site. The more people that hear about this, the more awareness we bring to the current state of Puerto Rico. There are so many families that have lost everything - everything! If through this writing I can reach someone that has better resources and can help me rebuild the homes of at least one family, I will sleep much better being so far away from the island I love.

interior look of Marilu's House
interior look of Marilu's House
With Marilu's Mother and Daughter
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One week helping the families in Puerto Rico, I️ was able to bring over donations and moral support. But today I’m leaving feeling worried. I️ received a call from Marilu one of the affected who lost her home. She is a single mother with a handicapped daughter. The rains have not stop
And she has no place to sleep tonight. Her daughter fell down and was in the intensive care last night. They still haven’t received any help apart from Rise Puerto Rico. Help me by sharing this post. We need more angels! Gofundme.com/risepr
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$5,525 of $100,000 goal

Raised by 75 people in 23 months
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