Launches Statewide Donation Drive for Nonperishable Goods at Strategic Locations – Including Citi Field in Partnership with New York Mets
Governor Cuomo and the Partnership for New York City Launch the Puerto Rico Relief & Rebuilding Fund at New York Community Trust to Coordinate Donations from Business Community for Local Charitable Organizations in Puerto Rico
Three-Pronged Effort with GNYHA, HANYS, NYSNA and 1199SEIU Provides Medical Supplies, Personnel and Technical Assistance to Puerto Rican Hospitals
Jennifer Lopez, Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez, Assemblyman Marcos Crespo and Cesar Perales Serving as Co-Chairs of the Effort
Visit ny.gov/PuertoRico to Learn More and Take Action
Following his visit to Puerto Rico to deliver emergency supplies and see firsthand the widespread damage and devastation from Hurricane Maria, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today launched the Empire State Relief and Recovery Effort for Puerto Rico. The effort brings together a wide range of civic, business and industry partners to provide needed services, goods and funds to help the people of Puerto Rico recover and rebuild, and provides opportunities for New Yorkers to contribute to the relief efforts. Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s Charities Bureau will monitor the fund to ensure the organization follows all necessary rules and regulations governing the solicitation of funds. JetBlue has committed to $1 million as an in-kind contribution to transport the customers and cargo for relief efforts. Governor Cuomo is the honorary chair of the effort, with Jennifer Lopez, Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez, Assemblyman Marcos Crespo and Cesar Perales serving as co-chairs.
“After seeing the breathtaking devastation and unfathomable need for help firsthand in Puerto Rico, I am launching this effort to put the full weight of New York’s resources behind the Puerto Rican people,” Governor Cuomo said. “New York has a long and proud history of standing up to help those in need, and with millions of Puerto Ricans suffering, we must do everything we can to help our Puerto Rican brothers and sisters recover. I thank our partners who have already donated and encourage all New Yorkers to lend a hand as we work together to help this community rebuild.”
“Puerto Ricans have helped make New York great — and we will not leave our family alone in its time of need. Our Puerto Rican brothers and sisters are Americans, and we must all do our part to help with the long recovery ahead,” Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said. “I encourage all New Yorkers to give through reputable charities and follow my office’s tips to ensure their dollars are put to good use.”
“Given the loss and devastation, we need everyone to pay attention and to urgently support Puerto Rico, the Caribbean, and Mexico City with donations and contributions,” said Jennifer Lopez, Co-Chair of the Empire State Relief & Recovery Effort. “We know we must address the immediate needs and means of survival for the people while being focused on the long term rebuilding of the infrastructure of Puerto Rico, the Caribbean, and Mexico City. I cannot tell you what it meant to me and to the people of Puerto Rico to see New York not only pledge support but Governor Cuomo to actually show up with resources and supplies. It is now time for all Americans to be front and center in helping to bring awareness and solutions to the task of rebuilding Puerto Rico.”
Puerto Rico Relief & Rebuilding Fund
Governor Cuomo has engaged the Partnership for New York City, the city’s leading business organization, to establish the Puerto Rico Relief & Rebuilding Fund at New York Community Trust, a public foundation, that will make grants to local charitable organizations in Puerto Rico that are helping with recovery and rebuilding from the devastation of Hurricane Maria, focusing on the most needy households and communities. Funds and in kind contributions are being solicited from the business community, with a minimum donation of $10,000.
Organizations that will receive support through this initiative include, but are not limited to:
Statewide Donation Drive
Across the state, New Yorkers are encouraged to drop off goods for donation at selected locations between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. The drop off sites for each region are:
New York City
Jacob K. Javits Center
655 W. 34th St
Shirley A. Chisholm State Office Building
55 Hanson Place
Jamaica Street Armory
93-05 168th Street
Roberto Clemente State Park
301 West Tremont Ave
Western New York
Connecticut Street Armory
184 Connecticut Street
State Police Zone Station
1155 Scottsville Road, Suite 400
85 West End Avenue
Central New York
Senator John J. Hughes State Office Building
333 E. Washington Street
Utica State Office Building
207 Genesee Street
Empire State Plaza Main Concourse
2 Quincy Place
Perry B. Duryea State Office Building
250 Veterans Memorial Highway
The drop-off sites will accept donations every day between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m.
A full list of charitable organizations for financial contributions is available on ny.gov/PuertoRico.
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.
In coordination with this effort, the New York Mets are asking each fan attending games at Citi Field on September 25, 26 and 27 to bring donations for the relief effort to the ball game between 4:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. Additionally, the Mets will collect supplies between 10:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. on Thursday and Friday. Seth Lugo, pitcher for the Mets, joined the Governor’s announcement today representing the partnership.
Three-Pronged Medical Assistance Partnership with GNYHA, HANYS, NYSNA and 1199SEIU
In response to growing medical needs in Puerto Rico, the Greater New York Hospital Association, Healthcare Association of New York State, the New York State Nurses Association and 1199SEIU will work together on a three-pronged approach to provide medical assistance to Puerto Rico. The partnership will:
Port Authority Emergency Personnel
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is preparing to deploy emergency personnel to Puerto Rico to assist in the coordinated recovery efforts. The Port will assign 45 aviation staff to assist at San Juan International Airport and other airports in the Commonwealth, 11 Port staff to assess damage and assist with re-establishment of Port of San Juan operations, and 10 members of the Port Authority Police Department are available for search and rescue as well as support to airport security. In addition, the Office of Emergency Management will provide support equipment and four EMTs to assist. The Port Authority team will be an entirely self-sufficient operation.
Cesar A. Perales, Co-Chair of the Empire State Relief & Recovery Effort, said, “It’s the New York way to help those in need. Through the Governor’s collaboration with businesses and communities across the state, we’ve provided a direct link to our Puerto Rican brothers and sisters to provide support and resources they need during these difficult times. I am proud to work with the Governor on this initiative, and I encourage everyone to join these efforts and support in any way they can.”
Robin Hayes, President and Chief Executive Officer, JetBlue, said, “As New York’s Hometown Airline® we understand the important bond our state has with the people of Puerto Rico who are in such great need today. That’s why, as the largest carrier to the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, we commend Governor Cuomo for leading the way in assembling New York businesses to immediately support the rebuilding effort. JetBlue may serve Puerto Rico from the air, but today our focus is on the critical work needed on the ground.”
Jeff Wilpon, New York Mets COO said, “On behalf of everyone at the Mets, we would like to thank Governor Cuomo for coordinating this massive relief effort for the island of Puerto Rico,” said. “The Mets and our fans stand alongside all our friends and family in Puerto Rico during this difficult time and are willing to help in any way we can..”
Seth Lugo, New York Mets Pitcher, said, “Like everyone else, I am heartbroken looking at the photos and video of what has happened to Puerto Rico. My family has been unable to get in touch with 50 relatives who live on the island. We are asking all New Yorkers to donate what they can to help Puerto Rico recover and rebuild. I was proud to represent Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic and I am honored that my team the New York Mets is taking part in the relief efforts.”
Kathryn Wylde, President & CEO of the Partnership for New York City, said, “The business community is prepared to join Governor Cuomo in mobilizing funding and other resources to deal with both the immediate tragedy and long term challenges that Hurricane Maria has unleashed on Puerto Rico.”
Secretary of State Rossana Rosado said, “Today, New York State is showing the world that now is the time to step up and support Puerto Rico as it begins to pick up the pieces left in Hurricane Maria’s wake. Through a multi-pronged relief and recovery effort spearheaded by Governor Cuomo, our brothers and sisters will receive the medical supplies and assistance they so desperately need, along with food and water to keep them strong as they repair and rebuild. I encourage New Yorkers in communities across the state, to do what they can and give what they can, as we support our neighbors through this difficult time.”
Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez, Co-Chair of the Empire State Relief & Recovery Effort, said, “I commend Governor Cuomo for the actions he’s taking. On Friday we traveled to Puerto Rico together to assess firsthand the damage from Maria and deliver supplies, personnel and assistance. The launch of this effort is another important step that demonstrates New York’s commitment to helping our Puerto Rican brothers and sisters in their time of need. New York and Puerto Rico are inextricably linked. For New Yorkers, Puerto Ricans are family – for some figuratively and, for many of us, literally. New Yorkers take care of their family and this newest effort will help channel additional help from our state to the Island. This is a catastrophe of historic proportions that will require coordination at all levels of government. I will be advocating at the federal level for additional efforts, including swiftly repairing and rebuilding Puerto Rico’s electrical grid, helping small businesses recover and addressing the looming Medicaid cliff.”
Congressman José E. Serrano said, “The people of Puerto Rico are In need of help, and are looking to the Diaspora in New York, Florida, and elsewhere to help lead the way. We need all levels of government to help respond to this devastation, which is why I am grateful for Governor Cuomo’s leadership and swift response in this dire moment.”
Congressman Adriano Espaillat said, “This is a critical time of life and death for millions throughout the Caribbean. The efforts to rebuild will be great and we each have a role to play to help these families recover following the aftermath of these catastrophic storms. I am encouraged by the solidarity of New Yorkers in times of need and commend Governor Cuomo on the launch of this relief effort to provide food, supplies and other resources to our brothers and sisters in the wake of these recent storms.”
Senator Martin Malave Dilan said, “What’s happened in Puerto Rico is worst case scenario by any definition. The storm has passed, but the true impact of Maria has yet to be seen. There is no shortage of issues to compound the impact of the storm and recovery. What we see today, is that a shortage of people ready and willing to help their fellow Puertorriqueños, is not one of them. I thank Governor Cuomo for acting so quickly and decisively. It’s more than help for my home island, it’s hope for the millions of Puertorriqueños there, and throughout New York State.”
Senator José M. Serrano said, “While we continue to keep Puerto Rico in our thoughts and prayers, the unfortunate reality is that the recovery efforts on the island will take a long time and will require a great deal of resources. Thanks to the leadership of Governor Cuomo, the Empire State Relief and Recovery effort provides a way for New Yorkers to make a real difference toward the relief efforts for the people of Puerto Rico.”
Senator Gustavo Rivera said, “I commend our nurses, engineers, National Guard, and all of the brave men and women who have traveled and will be traveling to Puerto Rico to help families rebuild after Hurricane Maria. New Yorkers can support these efforts through the Empire State Relief and Recovery effort, made possible by Governor Cuomo, and I encourage residents of this district to give what they can. Every donation of every size, including nonperishable food items, will make a difference in the lives of the men, women and children of the island.”
Assemblyman Marcos Crespo, Co-Chair of the Empire State Relief & Recovery Effort, said, ” Hurricane Maria brought devastation to the communities, homes and lives of our families, brothers and sisters in Puerto Rico, and as we only just begin to grasp the destruction Mother Nature has wrought, it is with hope – thanks to the leadership of Governor Cuomo, that our families will receive the help and resources they need to rebuild and recover stronger than ever before. Through the Empire State Relief and Recovery Effort, New York is one again providing a platform for residents across this state to lend a helping hand. We are providing medical assistance and personnel on the ground, and a food and water supply critical to ensure the safety of people of Puerto Rico. We remain committed to helping P.R. build back better than ever. To our families in Puerto Rico: New York is with you, shoulder to shoulder, every step of the way.”
Assemblywoman Carmen Arroyo said, “Helping those in need is the New York way and with this new effort, Governor Cuomo makes it clear that even if our federal representatives don’t step up in the wake of Hurricane Maria, New York will. Puerto Rico faces a long and arduous path to recovery and we must invest in providing aid and assistance to these families. I encourage everyone to do what they can and help Puerto Rico during this difficult time.
Assemblyman Phil Ramos said, “As our neighbors in the south continue to grapple with the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, I am encouraging New York residents to support the Empire State Relief and Recovery efforts made possible by Governor Cuomo. With tons of personnel and equipment being sent down to assist with recovery efforts, families stranded on the island are in need of food, water, and resources to rebuild. By standing together with communities across this state, we can make a huge difference in the lives of millions.”
Assemblyman Luis R. Sepúlveda said, “We urge our federal government to take action to help our neighbors in need, as Puerto Rican communities recover from the wrath of Hurricane Maria. New Yorkers are coming together, showing the world what it means to lend a helping hand, and I am proud to see our residents and businesses offering donations and nonperishable foods for stranded families. Puerto Rico has a long road ahead, but our brothers and sisters are rest assured that this state will be by their side the entire way.”
Assemblywoman Maritza Davila said, “New Yorkers stand together when faced with adversity, and while our friends and families are struggling to pick up the pieces in Puerto Rico, we will not stand idly by. I encourage our communities to support the Governor’s relief and recovery effort to save the lives of Puerto Ricans by making donations, volunteering, or providing nonperishable items to one of many drop locations across the state.”
Assemblyman Robert J. Rodriguez said, “The profound amounts of flooding and power outages across Puerto Rico are making recovery efforts extra challenging, and although our federal government will not step up to help our brothers and sisters in need, New York will. I commend Governor Cuomo for recognizing the dire situation faced by communities across the island and hope that New Yorkers in every corner of the state wishing to lend a hand will support recovery efforts, find a donation location nearby, and help our families recover.”
Assemblyman Erik Martin Dilan said, “Today and in the days, weeks, months and years ahead, New Yorkers stand with our brothers and sisters in Puerto Rico as they recover from this catastrophic event. In no uncertain terms, Governor Cuomo makes it clear that New York State will lead, and where others fail to step up in the wake of Hurricane Maria, New York will. Puerto Rico faces a long hard road to recovery and we must and will invest in the people of Puerto Rico. I encourage everyone to do what they can and help during this difficult time.”
Assemblywoman Carmen De La Rosa said, “New Yorkers are heartbroken by the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria, and today we are letting the people of Puerto Rico know that New York stands with all of the island’s residents. Businesses from across the state are lining up to help those in need in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. I want to thank Governor Cuomo for making all of this possible and look forward to working together with other state and local leaders and organizations to deliver for Puerto Rico.
Assemblywoman Kimberly Jean-Pierre said, “So many of the islands in the Caribbean and Puerto have been devastated by the recent hurricanes. And I stand with my colleagues in government to bring relief efforts to those affected areas. During these days we must come together globally to help those in need.”
Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said, “New Yorkers will not stand idly by as our brothers and sisters in Puerto Rico begin the difficult process of rebuilding from the destruction of Hurricane Maria. I applaud Governor Cuomo for spearheading this effort to support Puerto Rico and ensure that Suffolk County residents have an opportunity to contribute to Puerto Rico’s recovery efforts Suffolk County has a deep bond with Puerto Rico, and we are proud to be doing our part to support the island.”
Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney said, “New Yorkers know full well the devastation that Mother Nature can create. Our hearts and minds are with all Puerto Ricans, as they deal with the aftermath of Hurricane Maria and the inevitably long road ahead. In times of adversity, it is our responsibility to look after one another, and as New Yorkers, we have experienced the same generosity and compassion from our friends and neighbors. We are in full support of Governor Cuomo’s relief efforts for Puerto Rico and encourage all New Yorkers to join the recovery mission in the spirit of love and empathy.
Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente Jr. said, “With Hurricane Maria, Mother Nature has once again shown the level of devastation that she is capable of causing, but it is in times like these, that humanity shows what it is capable of as well. Thanks to the leadership of Governor Cuomo, New Yorkers are already mobilized and organized to help Puerto Rico recover and rebuild stronger than before. Oneida County is proud to join that effort and will remain standing shoulder to shoulder with them for as long as they need us.”
Broome County Executive Jason Garnar said, “The devastation that Puerto Rico has suffered at the hands of Hurricane Maria is nothing short of horrific and I applaud Governor Cuomo for launching such a massive effort to support the island’s recovery. As New Yorkers, it is in our DNA to help others in their time of need and Broome County is proud to follow the Governor’s lead and lend any assistance we can. Often times, the worst situations bring out the best in people and to see such a diverse coalition coming together for this important cause is truly inspiring.”
Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said, “Buffalo has one of the nation’s largest and most vibrant Puerto Rican communities and to support them during these difficult times, the Queen City is proud to join Governor Cuomo’s statewide relief effort. We know from first-hand experience that the only way to overcome Mother Nature’s devastation is with the help of friends. Puerto Rico has a friend in the City of Buffalo and we will continue to stand by their side as they recover and rebuild.”
Rochester Mayor Lovely A. Warren said, “We have a large Puerto Rican and Caribbean community in Rochester, and the pain of these disasters is being felt close to home,” Mayor Lovely A. Warren said. “We have many citizens eager to help in any way they can. I thank Governor Cuomo for helping establish this repository for New Yorkers from all over the state to send their support to, as we keep our thoughts and prayers with the men, women and children of Puerto Rico and the islands.”
Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan said, ”The people of Puerto Rico deserve the compassion and generosity of their friends and neighbors, as they begin to assess the destruction from Hurricane Maria. As New Yorkers, we must come together, as we always have in times of difficulty, for our friends in Puerto Rico and do all that we can to help. The City of Albany is proud to support Governor Cuomo’s recovery and relief effort, and I encourage all New Yorkers to act with their hearts and minds, as our neighbors have done for us in our time of need.”
Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano said, “Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano said, “New Yorkers stand with the people of Puerto Rico in the wake of the devastation of Hurricane Maria. Under Governor Cuomo’s leadership, New York is taking action to deliver the assistance and relief Puerto Rico needs on its path to recovery, and Yonkers is proud to join this effort. Together, we will support our Puerto Rican brothers and sisters and help Puerto Rico get back on its feet.”
Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. said, “New York has a deep and unbreakable bond with the people of Puerto Rico, and they are an integral part of the New York community. That is why we are stepping up to support Puerto Rico as it recovers from Hurricane Maria. Under Governor Cuomo’s leadership, New York’s contributions will directly improve the lives of those affected by Hurricane Maria and accelerate the island’s recovery. I urge all New Yorkers to do what they can to assist in these recovery efforts.”
New York City Council Member Annabel Palma said, “The continued support from our nurses, engineers, National Guard, and brave volunteers traveling to Puerto Rico, has been vital to the mission of rebuilding post-Hurricane Maria. I implore all New Yorkers to support these efforts through the Empire State Relief and Recovery effort, made possible by Governor Cuomo. I look forward to working closely with the residents of my district to collect donations, including nonperishable food items, which will make a difference in the lives of all those affected on the island.”
New York State AFL-CIO President Mario Cilento said, “Many of our brothers and sisters have family and friends directly impacted by the widespread devastation of Hurricane Maria. And this effort announced by Governor Cuomo today will allow members of organized labor to help the people of the Caribbean island in their desperate time of need. We are thankful for Governor Cuomo’s leadership and proud to partner with him on this relief and recovery effort that will no doubt result in an even stronger community while creating new bonds with the working men and women of Puerto Rico.”
Hector Figueroa, President, 32BJ SEIU, said, “As the president of a union that represents thousands of Puerto Ricans in New York and along the East Coast, I want to thank Governor Cuomo and our New York elected officials who have not hesitated to mobilize resources to help our Puerto Rican brothers and sisters. Puerto Rico will need a great deal of our help in the days to come and we know we can count on our fellow New Yorkers to show their solidarity and generosity through the Empire State Relief Fund and the multiple initiatives that have been launched in the last few days. The road back to normality will be long and rocky for the millions of Boricuas who are suffering. Now is the time for our fellow Americans to stand in solidarity with Puerto Rico and demand lasting relief from the crisis we face today and the ones we faced long before this hurricane. We can use this opportunity to make the changes Puerto Rico needs to rebuild the island’s economy on a new foundation for growth and prosperity for all.”
George Miranda, President, Teamsters Joint Council 16 & President of Teamsters National Hispanic Caucus, said, “As our brothers and sisters in Puerto Rico face the long road of recovery ahead, it is critical we make it clear that New York will stand by them every step of the way. With this new Empire State Relief and Recovery effort, Governor Cuomo offers Puerto Rico real and tangible relief for the weeks and months ahead. I am proud to join the governor to offer aid and assistance to our friends in need.”
Maria Castaneda, Secretary-Treasurer, 1199SEIU, United Health Care Workers East, said, “I am so grateful Governor Cuomo has made the Empire State Relief and Recovery effort possible to help our families in Puerto Rico. This is exactly the kind of leadership needed to help build strong, viable neighborhoods, and jumpstart the island’s economy once again. There is light at the end of the tunnel, and New York will stand by Puerto Rico every step of the way.”
AFT President Randi Weingarten said, “This is personal for New York, and for New Yorkers. New York and Puerto Rico are connected by many bonds—the suffering of one person in Puerto Rico is felt by countless New Yorkers—and those bonds flow both ways. In the wake of these monstrous, back-to-back hurricanes, we have a common mission: to do all we can to help Puerto Rico come back from this devastation even stronger. Public schools have always been a beacon of light for communities, and, once again, schools and teachers stand for their communities as shelters and a place where all can go for refuge, including the elderly and children. Schools will be key to creating safe and welcoming environments as Puerto Rico rebuilds. The AFT represents teachers and retired teachers on Puerto Rico. We are partners in delivering aid to them—collecting monetary contributions and providing food, tarps, tools, cleaning supplies and other essentials that families need at this crucial time. We are committed to helping in every way we can, as we have done in Texas and Florida and now are doing in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. We thank Gov. Cuomo for his assistance with the relief efforts, including fundraising and medical support, which reflects both the tremendous need and the unique bonds between New York and Puerto Rico.”
Michael Mulgrew, President, United Federation of Teachers, said, “As New Yorkers, we will do all we can to help Puerto Rico. We have a special history with the island. I want to thank Gov. Cuomo for helping to organize our emergency relief efforts. Our friends, families and colleagues in Puerto Rico are relying on us. We can’t let them down.”
Jill Furillo, Executive Director, New York State Nurses Association, said, “The establishment of this new relief fund will not only offer Puerto Ricans strength and hope from their New York family, it will help them afford the supplies they need to reconstruct neighborhoods across the entire island. I commend Governor Cuomo for supporting these critical relief efforts and helping make this fund a reality for the people of Puerto Rico.”
Gary LaBarbera, President of the Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York said, “New Yorkers were heartbroken by the tragic weather events that destroyed the island of Puerto Rico, and today we are doing our part to help our brothers and sisters in need. Under Governor Cuomo’s leadership, New Yorkers swung into action to deliver assistance and personnel to the people of Puerto Rico, and now the Empire State Relief and Recovery effort will directly help our brothers and sisters rebuild.”
Greater New York Hospital Association President Kenneth E. Raske said, “New York hospitals are no stranger to crises and it will command all that experience to see our friends and families in Puerto Rico through the aftermath of these historic storms. We will assist in gathering teams of medical personnel for deployment and identifying medical equipment and supply needs. We must think longer term as well so we will work with our great health care institutions to find creative ways to assist their counterparts in the commonwealth get back up to full service as quickly as possible.”
Bea Grause, HANYS President, said, “We are pleased to be working with the Governor to coordinate efforts to help the people of Puerto Rico. New York’s hospitals and health care providers know first hand the challenges of recovering from a major storm, and we stand ready to lend our expertise and assistance.”
Monsignor Kevin Sullivan, Executive Director of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York, said, “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. The Empire State Relief and Recovery Effort will not only offer hope and compassion from the state of New York – it will provide critical water, food and resources needed for families to recover and rebuild. I commend Governor Cuomo and other New Yorkers leaders from the business, philanthropic and nonprofit sectors for launching this relief effort.”
Jose Calderon, President of Hispanic Federation, said, “New Yorkers are no strangers to the destruction that can come at the hands of Mother Nature, and we are prepared to help Puerto Rico rise above this destruction as best we can. We saw first-hand the generosity and support our communities offered their neighbors after Sandy and Irene, and I know New Yorkers will come together for our brothers and sisters in Puerto Rico. I want to thank Governor Cuomo for making this relief and recovery effort possible, and for bringing every region of this state together to make a difference for the island of Puerto Rico.”
Rosa J. Gutierrez, CEO of the Puerto Rican Family Institute, said, “We at the Puerto Rican Family Institute are committed to serving alongside other leading organizations from New York’s Puerto Rican community as we work in unity to bring much needed aid and relief to our families living in the mass devastation left by Hurricane Maria. I am inspired by the overwhelming love and support from all who have donated their time, money and emergency supplies to be shipped to Puerto Rico. We thank Governor Cuomo for his leadership and are grateful for any assistance the Empire State Relief and Recover Effort can offer as we work with our families in Puerto Rico to recover and rebuild.”
Casimiro D. Rodriguez Sr., President, Hispanic Heritage Council of Western New York Inc., said,“The Hispanic Heritage Council of Western New York Inc.and the Buffalo Community, would like to thank Governor Cuomo for the establishment of the Empire State Relief and Recovery Effort. Through this worthy program, New Yorkers from Buffalo to Brooklyn can help our friends and families in Puerto Rico to rebuild and save lives. Every donation will make a difference, please find a location near you.”
Teresa A. Santiago, Chairperson, Comité Noviembre, said, “Our hearts are with the people of Puerto Rico who have had their lives turned upside down by Hurricane Maria, and we wish the best to first responders who working day in and day out to deliver assistance to those in need. Here in New York, Governor Cuomo has made it possible for our communities to contribute as much as we can, and through the Empire State Relief and Recovery Effort, every donation big or small will make a difference as the island begins to rebuild. I want to thank Governor Cuomo for his immediate response to the people of Puerto Rico and urge all to support these efforts.”
Guillermo Chacon, President of Latino Commission on AIDS, said, “As Puerto Rico begins their cleanup efforts after Hurricane Maria devastated entire neighborhoods and towns we must stand by our brothers and sisters and offer them aid in any way we can. I applaud Governor Cuomo for taking this critical action to provide the relief that Puerto Rico desperately needs.”
This relief effort follows Governor Cuomo’s trip to Puerto Rico on Friday, when he and a delegation of administration and emergency response officials brought the following supplies:
More than 34,000 bottles of water donated by The Coca-Cola Company;
Additionally, 60 members of the New York Army National Guard, four Black Hawk helicopters and 50 State Police are on standby.
New York State shares many deep ties with Puerto Rico, with many New York-based companies employing thousands in Puerto Rico at locations across the island. In addition, 1.2 million New Yorkers, or 5.7 percent of the population, are of Puerto Rican ethnicity. This means that more Puerto Ricans live in New York than anywhere else outside the island. According to estimates in the 2016 American Community Survey, there are 280,904 residents in the State of New York who claimed Puerto Rico as their place of birth.
This trip was not this first time that Governor Cuomo’s has visited Puerto Rico either. In 1998, as Secretary for Housing and Urban Development under President Bill Clinton, then-Secretary Cuomo traveled to the island in the aftermath of Hurricane Georges to assess damage and speed up the delivery of federal assistance. Further, in 2015, Governor Cuomo traveled to Puerto Rico twice as part of solidarity missions to assist the island with its ongoing healthcare crisis and economic challenges. Photos of the trip are available here.
VIDEO of Governor Cuomo and Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rosselló surveying damage from a Black Hawk helicopter is available in TV quality (h.264, mp4) format here.
VIDEO of a community viewed by the governors from the helicopter is available in TV quality (h.264, mp4) format here.