7 Ways To Help Puerto Rico Over The Holidays, Because The Island Still Needs Your Support

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We're heading into the full swing of the holiday season, and for a lot of us, that means it's officially the giving season. If you're looking for ways to help out someone in need over the holidays, remember that many people in Puerto Rico are still struggling after Hurricane Maria. Though the storm devastated Puerto Rico back in September, the island is still a long ways off from rehabilitating both the island’s economy and quality of life for its citizens. Bloomberg reported on Dec. 13 that Puerto Rico’s power grid will not reach full capacity until May, meaning there will be Puerto Ricans living without electricity nearly eight months following the natural disaster. Moreover, Puerto Rican families and organizations are still calling for essential items such as food, water, shelter, and financial assistance for medical needs.

If you like to donate or participate in charitable causes during the holidays, giving to Puerto Rico is the perfect way to spread seasonal cheer. While the island will surely be as festive as ever during Christmas and Three Kings Day, a holiday commemorating the Biblical journey of the Three Wise Men on Jan. 6. that's popular in Puerto Rico, it's also true that Puerto Ricans will still be feeling the storm's effects. Here are seven ways to help Puerto Rico over the holidays, because the island still needs your support.

Shop and Hire PR allows you to directly support Boricuas

Shop and Hire Puerto Rico is an initiative that was developed to directly connect Puerto Rican artisans and designers with shoppers on the U.S. mainland. The site allows you to browse numerous goods such as Puerto Rican coffee, fashion and accessories, and beauty products, as well as hire freelance workers. This is a great way to check items off your holiday shopping list, while giving a little boost to Puerto Rico's economy and small business owners.

Search GoFundMe for ways to donate

Simply searching "Puerto Rico Christmas Campaigns" in GoFundMe turns up a lot of results focused on making the holidays better for Puerto Rican families. Consider donating to this campaign effort, put together by the Puerto Rico Christmas Project and Calvary Chapel Puerto Rico, that will gift children in need with toys, school supplies, and hygiene items.

Donate to UNIDOS

UNIDOS, the Hurricane Maria relief fund created by the Hispanic Federation and community-based organizations, is still open for donations. You can make a donation online by simply going to the Hispanic Federation's donation page, and selecting "Puerto Rico Hurricane Relief." If you're in the seasonal spirit but not sure where or how to donate to help Puerto Rico, UNIDOS is reliable organization with an easy-to-use interface.

Browse Puerto Rican artisans on Etsy

If you want to support Puerto Rico while shopping for your loved ones, browsing items handmade in Puerto Rico on popular site Etsy is a good way to go. From these art deco silver rings to this Beetlejuice-inspired pin, you can directly support Puerto Rican artisans — and find a unique gift for each family member.

United for Puerto Rico will donate to families, as well as help small businesses resume operations

Many small businesses and structures were decimated by the storm. United For Puerto Rico is working in conjunction with groups like FEMA, and has raised over 24 million dollars in funds to assist Puerto Ricans in need. The organization not only provides necessities such as food and water, but has developed a small business program to help Puerto Rico's economy longterm. Your gift donation will go a long way.

Gift a toy through Toys "R" Us

Lin-Manuel Miranda joined forces with the major toy store Toys "R" Us to develop Toys 4 Puerto Rico just in time for the holiday season. On the site, you have the option to gift a $5, $10, or $20 toy. Miranda's goal is to gift 10,000 children on the island with toys by Three Kings Day.

Buy a box of shelf food for a family through Puerto Rico Strong

Puerto Rico Strong is hosting a Holiday Gift Collection via Shopify. Though the site has a section for toy donations, it also gives you the opportunity to gift a large box of shelf-stable food for only $45. Many Puerto Rican families still are struggling to access food, so this is a simply way to offer direct support.

It may seem small, but donating to one of these organizations — even just a couple dollars — can make a big difference. Whether you give a monetary donation, purchase a gift from a Puerto Rican small business, or a gift for a child on the island, you will be helping make the holidays a little brighter for Puerto Rican families.