Best Way for New Yorkers to Help Puerto Rico Recovery Efforts

Posted on September 26, 2017 by Alice Kenny  |  Share

Catholic Charities Supports Empire State Relief & Recovery

Governor Cuomo Departs from New York to Puerto Rico to Provide Emergency Goods and Services at Official Request of Governor Ricardo Rosselló

Responding to one-two punches from Hurricanes Maria and Irma that decimated Puerto Rico, Catholic Charities stands with Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, dignitaries, and leaders, adding our heft and facilitating their pledge to aid this U.S. territory.

"With over a million Puerto Rican-Americans that call our state home, New Yorkers should do all we can to help our family and friends on the island,” said Catholic Charities Executive Director Msgr. Kevin Sullivan on Sunday at the Jacob Javits Center where Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced a new statewide partnership, the Empire State Relief and Recovery Effort for Puerto Rico.

More  than a third as many Puerto Ricans live in New York as in their native Puerto Rico; 1.2 million here; 3.5 million there. So videos of Puerto Ricans wading chest-deep through flooded streets as furniture and cars float  by hits home.

Maria Gonzales told Fr. Eric Cruz, her pastor at St. John Chrysostom Church in the Bronx and Catholic Charities Bronx Regional Coordinator, that on Saturday she finally was able to speak by phone with her niece, Joanna, who lives in a pueblo near the island’s center.  The roof blew off her niece’s house, she related, and they need everything:  water, food, baby formula, clothes.

“I feel bad because I can’t reach her to help,” Ms. Gonzales said.

The Empire State Relief and Recovery Effort launched by Gov. Cuomo on September 17, 2017 will offer hope, compassion from the state of New York as well as the water, food and resources  families need to recover and rebuild.

Meanwhile, Fr. Eric is acting a liaison to many in the Hispanic community desperate to help relatives stranded  on this Caribbean  island.  He is planning special masses, overseeing fundraising events and directing those who offer to donate emergency supplies to official drop-off locations including the Jacob K. Javits Center at 655 W. 34th Street.

Catholic Charities extends its prayers and thoughts to the people of Puerto Rico and Mexico in these very difficult days. We are particularly saddened since these communities are so woven into the fabric of New York including our parishes, schools and Catholic Charities. We offer opportunities for anyone to contribute to disaster relief efforts.


“I commend Governor Cuomo and other New Yorkers leaders from the business, philanthropic and nonprofit sectors for launching this relief effort,” Msgr. Sullivan said.   


How to Help

Requested items include batteries, flashlights, portable lanterns, diapers, baby wipes, cases of water and feminine hygiene products. All items must be completely unopened and packaged.

Learn more on The Empire State Relief and Recovery Effort for Puerto Rico webpage


Watch this video from Saturday's event:

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Catholic Charities is responding to the needs of our neighbors during the 
COVID-19 pandemic.

For Help Call 888-744-7900