In order to provide support for the 3.5 million in Puerto Rico affected by the aftermath of Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria, USF’s Office of Orientation has launched a Hurricane Relief Drive.
While organizations such as USF World, International Services, Multicultural Affairs and the Center for Leadership and Civic Engagement have been working together to start a supply drive, USF students like Carmen Concepcion have taken it into their own hands to help their family and friends.
“The very first time I heard my mother’s voice, in over a week, was on Sunday,” Concepcion said. “It was inevitable for me to feel helpless so I wanted to do something to alleviate the situation that’s currently happening in any way that I could. I felt that at least something still needed to be done.”
As one of the four Puerto Rican students working at the Office of Orientation, Concepcion said she felt the need to help her island and decided to start the hurricane relief drive.
“Knowing that there was aid that was sent to Texas and Florida in such a quickly manner and knowing that we have an even higher need in Puerto Rico did kind of affect my morale a little bit,” Conception said. “But we have decided that it’s better to do something rather than nothing, especially since there are so many faculty members and student that have yet to hear from their families.”
Priscilla Santiago, another student working at the Office of Orientation, hadn’t heard from her family until recently. But like Conception, Santiago has decided to be involved in efforts to help the island.
“I’m also in Greek life and ROTC so I’ll be trying to spread the word and get support to send help to other families like mine,” Santiago said.
According to the Puerto Rico Electric Company, full power may not be restored to the island for up to six months.
“There’s a humanitarian crisis happening currently in Puerto Rico and we all need to unite to help our fellow Americans. They are in dire needs of supplies and medical attention,” Conception said. “I know what it’s like to feel helpless, but the best that we can do is to talk about it and send our resources and really unite.”
To get involved in the relief effort, donations can be delivered to the Office of Orientation where members of the office will be working with the charitable initiative called “Puerto Rico Hurricane Relief.”