Supplies for Cidra, Puerto Rico

$25,960 of $30,000 goal

Raised by 244 people in 14 months

Cidra, PR was one of many towns that bore the brunt of Hurricane Maria's southeast to northwest cut through the island. It has been devasted. 

This fund will seek to assist households in the Montellano Barrio of Cidra with what is a pressing longterm need, clean water and electricity.

We will provide inflatable solar lanterns for the 40 homes in the Sector as well as water filtration units and look to outfit upto 10 homes with 50w solar starter kits, with a long term goal of outfitting all the homes in Sector Bloquera with a Solar Panel kit.

The recipient (Luis Cotto) is scheduled to fly down on Friday, October 13th. He will personally deliver the packets to each household, documenting throughout.

We have arranged a great discount from the solar lamp producers, so every small donation helps.

Thank you!
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The end of the beginning...

[written 1/8/2018 - 4:00am San Juan Time]

When we first started to go down this road together, more than three months ago, the mission was simple; bring water filters and solar lights to the Bloquera ‘Sector’ of Montellano, Cidra in the mountains of Puerto Rico. After our initial fund goal was surpassed (within 24 hours) we expanded our mission to include other parts of Cidra as well as other communities on the island. Our two trips have seen us both lead and assist in various relief and recovery efforts while also meeting so many of the island people leading their communities when “official” agencies were just not around.

I’m currently sitting at Luis Munoz Marin International Airport waiting for my flight to arrive and wanted to reflect and thank everyone who joined us in this adventure to extend a hand to brothers and sisters (to some, literally) on the ravaged island. We were able to offer much: from the very base feeling of knowing someone cares to bringing a much needed light source in the darkness of the night to life saving potable water at a time where the leptospirosis scare is still very real. We served as postal carriers bringing medical supplies to a pediatric hospital as well as supplies to arts groups. We were able to “report” back to people what we saw on the ground and were able to connect a father in the remote mountains of Adjuntas with his children in Hartford to let him know that he was ok.

We did all this while staying true to our commitment to sustainable energy and minimizing our carbon footprint. This at a time where batteries and bottled water were amongst the most shipped items from abroad and, even now, the daily purchase of gas for generators continues to consume much needed funds from family budgets.

We just completed our second trip to the island and distributed more than 400 lights bringing our total to more than 1,100 which made their way into at least 400 homes. We also installed smaller solar kits to allow in non-profit spaces to allow those organizations a base of electrical relief to work on laptops, charge phones or run fans. We were entrusted with gift cards from a Boston based Foundation and gave them to small groups doing big work. With one card, we purchased electrical supplies so that a couple mountain homes could fix their electrical receptors so their homes could be ready for a hookup once the islands electrical contractors made it to their homes. With unspent funds we will be making a small ($700) donation to Vieques Fisherman who similarly want to purchase collectively to fix multiple fishing boats in order to maintain working. We also fulfilled our ‘postal carrier’ role again by picking up and delivering more than 350lbs of toys to youth on the island in time for Three Kings Day.

While our fundraising officially comes to an end, the work continues.

The government of Puerto Rico has inferred that recreating grid infrastructure to isolated locations is cost prohibitive meaning that a solar generation might be the only solution available to people who otherwise cannot afford it. I’ll keep my eyes and ears open to see who is looking to fill that void in order to assist in whatever way.

We also look to continue our ‘adoption’ of the Luis Munoz Iglesias Bi-Lingual School in Cidra. We donated 25+ solar chargers to their classrooms and look forward to holding mini events to help their staff, teachers and students.

Thank you again for having faith in this cause.

In Solidarity,

no street lights available
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Happy New Year!!

A majority of our assistance work will take place this first week in January. (Happy New Year) this past week, we’ve been able to distribute to about 100 homes, including an entire housing area of about 50 dwellings. An overwhelming majority of Cidra still does not has electricity, including our home base in Montellano.

Here’s a short video of a drive to the house and of infrastructure changes since We were last here in October.
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We’re baaack!!

The month of November was a focus on day job month mixed in with five speaking engagements to talk about our trip and continuing to update people on the ever changing status on the island.

But we just confirmed our 2nd trip over to distribute more solar options along with filters. We fly out on Dec. 27th! 14 Days and a wake up!

So stay tuned for more updates on our upcoming trip as we draw down the final third of our donations.

Thank you all for our initial donors for kicking off this incredible initiative and THANK YOU and Welcome to our new donors!!
Luci Light 2.0
How we receive, right -how we pack, left
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"Thousands in Puerto Rico still have no running water. That’s making people sick." - Miami Herald, Nov 8

"Frustration Mounts Over Puerto Rico's 'New Normal" - NPR, Nov 9

These are just some of the news reports coming out of the situation NOW on the island ... almost 6 weeks since Hurricane Irma.

I'll only point to these initially as an example of what many already know ... recovery is a looonngg way away. So, those of us who have a vested interest have to prepare for our own "new normal" of support and advocacy.

There are countless of island based and diasporan initiatives working towards a recovery and reconstruction effort that starts with the people of the island. We're proud to count ourselves amongst those.

Yesterday (Friday, Nov 10) I put in another order for solar lights that will bring the amount donated to households and emergency shelters to more than 1,000 lights.

Initially, the plan was to ship those to the island but courier services are still spotty and will take about a month.

So, one of my awesome merchants at my day job (Egleston Square Main Street) has offered to sunsidize another trip to the island in December.

So, yes, I'm going back!

Learning from my last trip, I will conduct a bucket workshop in Cidra to lead people through making their
own water filtration kit. I will also work with a wonderful group of people from Salinas who created an ad hoc group called 'Las Tres Mosquiteras' to lead a workshop to make mosquito nets for people to sleep in.

Participants will each receive the new lights we purchased. The new solar lights are the Luci 2.0 which have a larger brightness radius than the Luci Emerge lights we initially brought down.

I'll be getting the tickets this week but anticipate going for a long weekend the third week in December.

At the same time, I will be shipping solar panels and supplies donated to our home base (aka Federico) :) in Santurce. We will be installing the panels in Centros de Acopios in Humacao, Santurce, Piñones, and anywhere there is a need.

Thank you ALL again for your support. I'll keep you updated as things change/progress, but stay tuned for our adventures in about a month back on the island.

peace and solidarity,

photo by Federico Cintrón Moscoso
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Posted by Luis Edgardo Cotto
14 months ago ago
Familia - Todays update on a number of fronts:

I talked to my sister in Cidra, as she was able to find some cell reception on the highway outside of Caguas (for those who know the area, she was right in front of the big red 'Bienvenido a Caguas' sign) We talked strategy as our family here is trying to get a flight for the 4 of them (2 sisters, mom and dad). But she was able to give me an update on Cidra.

Things are progressing as best everyone can but the infrastructure is crumbling. Grocery stores are rapidly running out of and nothing is coming in. Neither regular shipments or donated items from the states. There is still no electricity so every open establishment can only deal with cash, Major stores are allowing people 10 at a time and each group is personally escorted from entrance to check out to prevent looting. Banks are allowing limited withdrawals and are doing everything with paper receipts as to update computers at a later point.

Gas and Food lines are not as long as in San Juan and water can be found in mountain streams but due to fear of dead animals, it's only used to bathe and clean.

The curfew begins at 6pm and once sunsets, there's not a light to see from the homes porch.


We've passed the 50% mark with donations!! Thank you! I've started the process of withdrawing initial donations which look like it's going to take a days worth of back n forth w/ GoFundMe as they're having issues verifying my account. :(

But ... I was able to transfer the Venmo donations $1670 and will put in the order for 240 Solar Lanterns. This means that I can apply the current $2780 towards water filtration units!

Once we get to the $5000, I'll transfer the remainder and get the solar panel kits!!

If we surpass the goal the additional funds will be used to purchase more solar lanterns.

Thank you to all who have donated. It's humbling to see people that I don't even know have faith in this initiative. I'll try to update and document every step of the way to show how your dollars are bringing even the smallest bit of change into such a horrific situation.
There's cell reception here!!
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$25,960 of $30,000 goal

Raised by 244 people in 14 months
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