Help my family in Puerto Rico after Maria

Help my family in Puerto Rico after Maria

From Marco Viera

The eye of hurricane Maria hit on the morning of September 20th. Help us evacuate my family, get supplies to those aren't able to leave, and support Waves Ahead, who has been helping my family along with many others.

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Update #11

9 months ago

Mark your calendars and get your tickets!

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The eye of hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico on the morning of September 20th. It made landfall on the eastern part of the island where my family is located. 

 

My grandparents, several aunts and uncles, and all their children live in that area.  

They were OK for a couple weeks until their resources began to run low.  They had no electricity or water and communication was poor.  Thankfully, they've been able to figure out how to communicate more regularly, and the electricity and water now comes and goes.

A cousin of mine was able to get in contact with my mom soon after the hurricane hit.  He said the situation was horrible and that it looked like a bomb went off.  He said the only thing left was mud.  He stood in line for 13 hours to get a small amount of gas so that he could drive to find water.

Please help us help them.   With these funds that you all so wholeheartedly contributed, we were able to evacuate 5 of my family members, and now, with the help of WAVES AHEAD, we’ll be working to send supplies to those who remain and help them rebuild. They need things that are not found on the island such as solar powered items, D batteries, portable showers, and other camping and survival supplies.

If you haven’t already, show your support for WAVES AHEAD by liking their page on Facebook. Spread the word and contribute so that they can continue to do their work.

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Marco Viera posted a new update:
9 months ago

Update #11

Mark your calendars and get your tickets!

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Marco Viera posted a new update:
9 months ago

Update #10

It's been now been more than 2 months since hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico. I’ve gotten several phone calls from my family expressing their deep gratitude for all the support they’ve gotten from us, which wouldn’t have been possible without all the help I’ve gotten from you and Waves Ahead. We’ve been able to send 2 generators with the help of several connections from Waves Ahead. They’ve also been able to partner with AARP and were able to give my family boxes of water and food. We’ll also be flying out another one of my aunts in December.

At this point, the electricity and water comes and goes. I’ve gotten 2 more requests for generators, and we’ll be sending some water bottles with filters and some solar, crank lights.

Waves Ahead also suggests the following material donations:

Solar Fans
Solar Lights
Cooking stoves with propane gas
Toiletries
Over the counter medications for children and adults
Diapers, formula, diaper cream and other baby needs

Boston Pride has partnered with Waves Ahead to continue to raise funds to aid in their efforts to support the work they’re doing on the island. They have dedicated their Giving Tuesday campaign that began on November 28th and will run until December 31st http://www.bostonpride.org/pr/. They will also be hosting a brunch at Club Cafe on Sunday, December 17th, 12noon-4pm. Click here for tickets or to make donations https://www.showclix.com/event/PuertoRicoBrunch and please spread the word!!

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Marco Viera posted a new update:
10 months ago

Update #9

Last week 4 of my family members made it to the airport, and we were able to fly them into Orlando Florida. The first thing my cousin asked for was a hamburger, and my aunt said the only thing she wanted was cold water. They all took showers and slept for hours. I don’t think they even realized how exhausted they were. This puts into perspective what those who were not able to leave are still going through.

One of my aunt's that stayed behind told us that her house flooded during the storm. So much had happened so quickly that they forgot to tell us earlier. Water started coming in from the front door. When my aunt tried to open the door, she found that it wouldn’t move. Her daughter climbed through the window and got their neighbors. They were able to clear the debris from the drains around their home that were clogged, preventing the water from draining. This is a video of the storm that another cousin of mine took. This is what they battled while clearing those drains:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B_dT12QZdoZHY0RwbnVsemNxRHM/view?usp=sharing

After the storm, the water subsided leaving behind a muddy mess that they've been working to clean.

There is still no electricity. They've now asked for a generator, canopies, flashlights, and batteries, which we will be sending them.

Thankfully, this past Sunday they received another visit from my uncle with more water and food. We were also able to get more money to them for gas and supplies.

WAVES AHEAD is also still down there. Make sure to follow and like their page on Facebook to see their posts https://www.facebook.com/WAVESAHEAD/. My friend Wilfred https://www.facebook.com/wlabiosa is still on the ground distributing food and delivering packages. He let me know that our initial packages have arrived, and he'll be taking those supplies to my family this week. I've also sent him more names of people down there who need help. People whose families have reached out to me. People who still have not received any help more than 3 weeks after the storm. They need more funds to continue the work around them. Please keep the discussion going. Please continue to spread the word . Thank you!

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Marco Viera posted a new update:
11 months ago

Update #8

What an amazing day!! Good news two days in a row!!

Yesterday my uncle was able to get food and water to my family, and my aunt said the sardines and crackers he brought were like eating cake. They never tasted so good.

Today, I woke up to messages pointing me to Lin Manuel Miranda's new song for Puerto Rico https://www.facebook.com/linda.l.hughes.33/posts/10214218877367110. A song for all my people, on and off the island.

My friend, Wilfred Labiosa, with WAVES AHEAD https://www.facebook.com/WAVESAHEAD/ had been working to get to my family all week. All of a sudden, while I was messaging with my cousin, he was there! He was able to get to my family, bring them the D batteries they so desperately needed, and connect me with an amazing travel agent in Puerto Rico who was able to find the flights we needed within a matter of hours. We were able to book flights for 5 of my family members to leave on Tuesday!

Afterwards, Wilfred called me, and I didn’t even recognize his voice. This incredible individual is able to do what seemed impossible. He’s directly helping the people of Puerto Rico.

I asked Wilfred what he saw when he was with my family, and he said he saw the same thing he’s seen all over the island, depression, sadness, and heightened anxiety to know what will change and how things will improve.

Today we were able to celebrate, but the work is far from over. We were able to book flights for 5 of my family members, but many more are staying behind. I can’t even imagine what my family is going through as Tuesday approaches.

Even with all that he was able to do today, Wilfred, along with WAVES AHEAD, will be receiving packages in San Juan to deliver needed supplies to my family. With these funds that you all so wholeheartedly contributed to, we were able to evacuate 5 of my family members, and now we’ll be working to send supplies to those who remain. I asked Wilfred what they need, and he said send things that are not found on the island such as solar powered items, D batteries, portable showers, and other camping and survival supplies.

If you haven’t already, show your support for WAVES AHEAD by liking their page on Facebook. Spread the word and contribute so that they can continue to do their work.

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Marco Viera posted a new update:
11 months ago

Update #7

My mom called me today and told me her sister called her this morning. She was crying. She ran out of water. When she decided to leave her house to try and find more, a white van pulled up in front. My uncle from Texas stepped out. These two had never met before, and he asked her if she was my mom's sister. He said he was there to bring her some water and food. His job sent him to Puerto Rico to help the people on the island, and my mom had given him their address days ago. We hadn't heard anything until today. Titi called him an angel, and, before the call went out, she said she was going to contact my Mom's other sisters to tell them to come get water and food. Thank you Tio for reaching them! You gave them hope and more help then they've seen since Maria hit.

More good news, we tried to send them money again, and my cousin said they were able to receive it! They're going to use it to get more supplies. We can only send them a little at a time, but at least we now know they're getting it. They also said they think they can start receiving small packages. They're asking for D batteries. My grandmother in New York sent a package today to see if it'll get to them.

Unfortunately my cousin wasn't able to get to the airport yesterday. I also tried to find tickets, but I'm having no luck. If anyone knows of a way to get flights out of Puerto Rico, please let me know, and thank you so much for your continued support.

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Marco Viera posted a new update:
11 months ago

Update #6

I just got a call from my cousin. He was in a line at a bank trying to see if he could get money out. They're capping the amount you can take. He kept saying things were really bad. Some days they eat, and some days they don't. They've been collecting as much rain water as possible. He said the roads are all still blocked by trees. He has a small motor bike and said he's going to try to get to the airport and see if he could get tickets that way. He said they're very ready to get off the island. He's going to try to contact us tomorrow.

I'm so hopeful that he can make it and that we can finally get them tickets.

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Marco Viera posted a new update:
11 months ago

Update #5

Nothing much has changed. We tried to send them money yesterday, but so far it doesn't seem to be working. Things have begun to open up, but the lines are super long and there's not much available. Thankfully they're able to find spots with signals to let us know they're OK. They said they're just rationing and waiting. We also tried again to get them flights, but there are none. Only waiting lists.

I sent their addresses and names to a friend down there with an organization called Waves Ahead. They're trying to help as many as possible, and they're giving updates: https://www.facebook.com/WAVESAHEAD/ My friend, Wilfred, said he'd try to get to them and assess the help they need on Sunday. I can't wait until he can get back to me.

Please keep them and the millions of people on that island in your thoughts, and thank you so much for your support and contributions.

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Marco Viera posted a new update:
11 months ago

Update #4

My aunt was able to get in contact with my Mom today! They said they're still OK. They've heard rumors of a possible store that may be open where they can get more food. We're going to try to send them money so they can get what they need. Here's hoping this works and the rumors are true! We're still trying to figure out how to get flights.

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Marco Viera posted a new update:
11 months ago

Update #3

One of my cousins sent a quick post today to let us know they're OK. He asks everyone to keep praying for them.

Today I asked my congregation at First Parish in Brooklyn to share this page within their networks, and the response was incredible. Thank you so much for your support, love, and blessings. I can't tell you how appreciative I am. All of your contributions will go a long way to helping my family.

I'm also learning of an organization that has come together to help within Puerto Rico ran by a man I've worked with here in Boston in the past and that I trust. I'm trying to get in contact with him to see if they are near my family.

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Marco Viera posted a new update:
11 months ago

Update #2

Please help me spread the word by sharing this page on your social networking sites, and THANK YOU!

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Marco Viera posted a new update:
11 months ago

Update #1

Anything will help. Thank you!

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