MCCC is responding to the devastation in Puerto Rico, and for one professor, it hits home.
Maris Fonseca, associate professor of Biology, has family in Puerto Rico.
“The ongoing situation in Puerto Rico is something that touches me very personally,” she said in an email.
Three weeks ago, the island was directly hit by the center of hurricane Maria, and experienced winds and rain that lasted over 30 hours.
Amanda Roelant, International Studies Club treasurer, said the club is considering a trip to aid the island.
“Nothing is set in stone,” she said. “We toyed with the idea of going to help people who need it.”
The trip has been put on the back burner for now, according to Joanna Sabo, a Political Science professor and coordinator of the Global Studies program.
“With limited air travel going in and power outages, getting there is too difficult right now,” she said.
Sabo said the nation’s response to the devastation has been slow.
“Whether it is a storm crisis, refugee crisis, health care, or a terrorist attack, I am always taken aback at how some Americans are reluctant to help others,” she said.
“We have to remember as a U.S. territory, its citizens are U.S. citizens,” Sabo said. “We should always be willing to suspend judgements and give to people in need.”
President Trump has been mixed in his support for Puerto Rico.
“We cannot keep FEMA, the Military & the First Responders, who have been amazing (under the most difficult circumstances) in P.R. forever!” he said in a recent tweet.
Puerto Rico faces a humanitarian crisis as clean water is scarce, 84 percent are without electricity, and resources are dwindling.
“We need to elect smart and compassionate leaders,” Sabo said.
Fonseca is appreciative of all the support she’s received since the disaster, and feels fortunate to work with such caring individuals, she said.
“I am grateful for the many expressions of concern and solidarity for Puerto Rico,” Fonseca said.
“I am also grateful for the desire of many individuals and groups to help those on the island affected by the hurricane.”
Organizations like the World Central Kitchen, American Red Cross, and the Salvation Army can designate donations to assist Puerto Ricans.
“The organization has an initiative called Chefs for Puerto Rico where Chef José Andrés (@chefjoseandres) is leading a team of chefs and volunteers to prepare and serve meals to people affected by Hurricane Maria,” Fonseca said.
Celebrities like Ricky Martin, Jennifer Lopez, and Marc Anthony are accepting donations on their fundraising pages.
“The most effective ways to help reach those individuals in Puerto Rico that need it most is to channel aid through organizations that have the resources to transport goods to the island, and the means to distribute them widely and immediately,” she said.