(Camden, NJ) – Last week, Hurricane Maria had a devastating effect on the island of Puerto Rico bringing winds of up to 155 miles an hour to shore and never before seen surges of seawater onto the island. Since that time, the storm has created an ever-deepening humanitarian crisis for 3.4 million U.S. citizens. Now, most of the island is without power and more than 1 million people are without drinking water. Seeing the carnage on the island, the Camden County Freeholder Board is working with leaders from throughout the region, including the Puerto Rican Congress of New Jersey in a united effort to send relief to the United States commonwealth.
Freeholder Carmen Rodriguez talked about the moral imperative to help the millions suffering through the fallout.
“We are looking at a disaster of epic proportions, in some neighborhoods 80 percent of the homes were destroyed, utilities are out across the board including wastewater treatment,” Rodriguez said. “I’ve been talking to members of my community who want to help and don’t know what the best resource would be, which is when I contacted the Puerto Rican Congress of New Jersey and together with Hispanic Affairs we set up the Boricuas from New Jersey para Puerto Rico fund with the South Jersey Credit Union.”
Based on continuing restrictions on shipping into the island, perishable and nonperishable goods were not an option for this campaign. The relief effort will be focused on monetary donations for those suffering on the island. Once funds are collected, culminating in a Oct. 8, statewide marathon, they will be distributed to the United for Puerto Rico Foundation and the Salvation Army.
“The entire island of Puerto Rico has been greatly affected by this tragedy and the degree of devastation is massive,” Senator Nilsa Cruz-Perez said. “We need to focus as a community, State and nation on rebuilding Puerto Rico. Their residents are not only our fellow citizens, but to many of us, they are family.”
For more information on the relief effort please call the Camden County Office of Hispanic Affairs at (856) 225-5312 or email them Hispanic@camdencounty.com. Information can also be found at the Puerto Rican Congress of New Jersey website at http://puerto-rican-congress.com/.