How To Help Women In Puerto Rico Who Desperately Need Your Support

A full week after Hurricane Maria tore through Puerto Rico the full extent of the damage remains unknown. With virtually no electricity on the island, impassable roads, and 85 percent of cell phone towers knocked down, getting a thorough picture of the destruction is not yet possible. What is a known fact is that help is desperately needed — and there are a number of charities you can donate to that would help women in Puerto Rico the most, after the devastation wrought by Hurricane Maria, and Irma before that.

While many organizations are set up to help victims of the hurricanes in Puerto Rico, some are geared more toward providing products and services to women, who are often the ones who are most impacted by natural disasters. Before donating anywhere online, just note that scammers exist and will capitalize on this disaster if they can. So be wary and do your homework.

With that said, the fact of the matter is that most organizations prefer to work with cash. Money donations allow them to purchase what is most urgently needed, and avoid wasting precious human volunteer personnel on sorting through crate after crate of possibly useless used things. In a crisis like Puerto Rico, time is one of the most valuable commodities, and no one wants to waste it.

The one exception to this rule is drives for specified products. Certain organizations are set up to handle a small amount of particular items, especially things like sanitary pads, diapers, and baby wipes. Here are a few places that can use your donation.

Look For A Donation Drive Near You That Accepts Pads & Tampons

If you live in New York City, consider donating supplies to the donation drive co-organized by the New York Hispanic Clergy Organization. Among the items it's accepting are flashlights, portable lanterns, batteries, diapers, baby wipes, baby food, clothing, and crucially, feminine hygiene products.

Organizations across the country are putting together similar donation drives, too. Make sure to be on the lookout for them.

If You Want To Donate Supplies, Consider Organizations Like MedShare

Hospitals in Puerto Rico represent one of the most vulnerable spots in the struggle to recover. With so many lives already dependent on care, a catastrophe like Hurricane Maria can stretch the medical capacity of any area beyond its ability to respond.

Most hospitals in Puerto Rico are not open, and the ones that are don't always have running water. Additionally, hospital personnel reported to CNN that they are quickly running out of basic supplies. Two people who were dependent on life support died Monday when power at a hospital went down.

MedShare collects basic care supplies such as diapers and baby wipes — which, for single moms, are invaluable — as well as medical equipment. You can donate to help with their efforts in Puerto Rico here.

If You Have Money To Spare, Some Of These Groups Are Working Hard To Help All Victims In Puerto Rico

Some large charity organizations are involved in Puerto Rico's recovery efforts:

  • Save the Children works around the world to fight for the rights and wellbeing of kids. They are on the ground right now in Puerto Rico, and offer a specific donation option for Hurricane Maria.
  • Unidos Por Puerto Rico is headed by Beatriz Rosselló, the First Lady of Puerto Rico. It boasts a large range of sponsors, and it's probably a safe bet to let those who know the country best handle the lion's share of incoming aid. There are a several ways to donate here.
  • Whatever your political affiliations, it's hard not to trust something good is happening when all five living former presidents get together behind one mission. In the aftermath of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, this ex-POTUS team created One America Appeal to help the country rebuild. (In fact, some of the money donated to One America Appeal will go to Rosselló's United for Puerto Rico.) You can donate here.
  • Catholic Charities is already on the ground in Puerto Rico with Caritas Puerto Rico, an established affiliate that is stationed there. The charity pledges that 100 percent of donations will go directly to disaster relief. You can donate here.

Attend Events Near You That Are Collecting Supplies For Women In Puerto Rico

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Whether it's a music concert or an art show, look for events that accept pads, tampons, underwear, and any other donation items that women will need.

Seek Out Crowdfunding Campaigns That Focus On Helping Women In Puerto Rico Rebuild Their Lives

Colectiva Feminista en Construcción, a grassroots feminist organization, is raising money to "establish a grassroots-organized space that would work as an oasis, meeting and gathering point and distribution center of resources to alleviate the most urgent necessities of women, LGBTQ people, non-binary folks and other people and communities in resistance."

The group also intends to raise awareness about the conditions of abject poverty these communities face that led to the catastrophe today. You can donate here.

Donate Directly To Paz Para La Mujer

This women's organization in Puerto Rico dedicated to eliminating violence against women is collecting supplies for victims of Hurricane Maria on the island. According to this Facebook list compiled by user Mia Mingus, the items that Paz Para La Mujer are accepting include batteries, diapers, evaporated milk, as well as tampons, panty liners, and sanitary pads.

When you think about the victims of the hurricanes in Puerto Rico, keep in mind the unique needs of women in Puerto Rico.