What would you need to survive on an island for 4-6 months without water or electricity?
That is exactly what our family is facing right now in Puerto Rico, because of Hurricane Maria.
Our cousin, Ventura (pictured above with the gray hair), lives in San Juan. A recent health crisis has left him blind and diabetic, now he has no power or water, and needs to navigate streets of debris to get whatever food is left at a nearby gas station. He lives alone. He is our relative in the best-case scenario.
The majority of our family lives in the mountain town of Utuado. You likely haven’t seen it on TV, because news crews are finding it nearly impossible to get to. There is one major road to Utuado, and in addition to fallen trees and homes, there is now a massive sinkhole blocking trucks from bringing aid. These people are on their own. No one, including Ventura, has been able to contact our family there. Communication lines are down. You can see some of the devastation in Utuado for yourself here: http://www.latimes.com/nation/94697091-132.html
Our goal is to send survival tools to our family in Puerto Rico. Through the help of friends and colleagues in Philadelphia, we’ve arranged for one care package to be brought to Ventura. This is not enough.
We’re hoping to raise money to purchase protein-rich nonperishable food, water purification pumps, solar powered cell-phone chargers, flashlights and lanterns, cooking tools, and all other items a person needs to survive on island that’s been completely destroyed.
We are also working with Philadelphia community leaders to contact the Mayor of Utuado, in the hopes of sending money, supplies, and aid workers directly to this town. The ultimate goal is to not only locate our family and provide necessary assistance, but to assist their neighbors as well.
This is the town where our dad, Lou Rodriguez, grew up, where our grandparents met, where their American dream began. Without Utuado, we wouldn’t be here. So we need to help these people, and we hope you will help us do so.
We guarantee that 100% of the money is going to aid Puerto Rico—this is just us working to make this happen. There is no overhead.
Thank you for helping us. We hope we can help you too one day, if the need arises.
Finally, if you would prefer to help the people of Puerto Rico at large, here is a link to the First Lady of Puerto Rico’s fund: http://unidosporpuertorico.com/en/
Any help to our family, the people of Utuado, or the island of Puerto Rico is greatly needed. Thank you.