Photo Courtesy of Edwin Torres/Mayoral Photography Office
More than 420 tons – or 840,000 pounds – of supplies, including batteries, first-aid kits, diapers, baby food, feminine hygiene products and water, have been collected, according to the City.
By Forum Staff
A public-private partnership will provide more than $1.5 million worth of supplies – including clothing, bedding and other home goods – to residents displaced by Hurricane Maria, which struck Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands on Sept. 21, Mayor Bill de Blasio and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito announced on Monday.
In addition, more than $200,000 has been pledged from New Yorkers through the Mayor’s Fund website, voluntary payroll donations from NYC employees, and a month-long campaign led by iHeartMedia since the storm.
De Blasio and Mark-Viverito noted that immediately following Hurricane Maria, the City began collecting donations of critically-needed supplies at firehouses, EMS stations, and police stations across the five boroughs, as well as working with other organizations that collected donations. More than 420 tons – or 840,000 pounds – of supplies, including batteries, first-aid kits, diapers, baby food, feminine hygiene products and water, have been collected, according to the administration.
Additionally, de Blasio said the Mayor’s Fund is working with Delivering Good, Macy’s and Target to provide new winter clothing, bedding, household and other goods totaling $1.5 million to address the unmet needs of displaced Puerto Ricans and residents of the U.S. Virgin Islands through the Hurricane Evacuee Service Center in Manhattan. Since the Service Center opened, the New York Disaster Interfaith Services has been conducting interviews and needs assessments with displaced families. NYDIS estimates that approximately 5,000 new Puerto Rican and U.S. Virgin Island residents in New York currently have unmet needs in terms of basic clothing and household supplies – and that number is expected to increase during the next six to 12 months as more people arrive.
“In the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, New Yorkers have shown time and time again that they are willing to come together to help Puerto Rico – whose residents are still struggling with lack of water, electricity, and basic living supplies,” Mark-Viverito said. “I am proud to lead council efforts to assist the island as it continues to rebuild. In addition to the $200,000 donated by New Yorkers, over $1.5 million worth of supplies will be contributed through the joint effort of the council, the Mayor’s Office, and community partners, and we will help support Puerto Rico in whatever way possible going forward.”
The City also has deployed 299 employees to the Puerto Rico to provide a range of specialized support. These workers include staff from the Fire Department, Police Department, Emergency Management, Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Department of Sanitation, and the Parks Department. Among other assistance, these municipal employees assisted with setting up a supply distribution center, debris management, building inspections, forestry work and search and rescue operations.
“It’s moments like these when I’m most proud of this city,” de Blasio added. “Not only have we welcomed those displaced from Hurricane Maria into our city and our homes, New Yorkers from every borough have also donated to help ensure they’re comfortable once they get here. It’s that spirit that makes New York City the best city in the world.”