The latest updates from Estoy Con Puerto

Posted on October 24, 2017 by Catholic Charities Admin  |  Share

Determining Needs, Rounding Up Donations & Deliverying Supplies

To cut through red tape and deliver desperately needed hurricane relief straight to Puerto Rico, Estoy Con Puerto Rico, (I am with Puerto Rico), launched its hurricane-recovery effort on September 28, 2017. They teamed up with  Comité Noviembre, the National Association of State Latino Chamber of Commerce, the New York State Coalition Hispanic Chambers of Commerce, the National Supermarkets Association and with Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York, the program’s fiscal conduit. For insights into the herculean efforts taken to successfully determine needs, round up donations and deliver supplies let’s hear now from Teresa Santiago, President of Estoy Con Puerto Rico.

By Teresa Santiago

President, Estoy con Puerto Rico

Step One:  How to Get Supplies Straight to Those Who Need Them Most
  • Estoy Con Puerto Rico will work with the business community of Puerto Rico including Centro Unido de Detallistas (CUD) – the United Center of Retailers and the Puerto Rico Chamber of Commerce, (PRCC), to deliver donated items to affected areas.  Items vary from water, non-perishable foods, personal hygiene items, toiletries to generators, cleaning products, mold removal items, LED lanterns, flashlights, batteries, etc.
  • Businesses receiving support will in turn open their doors to the neighboring community to provide free food, a place to charge phones and receive information.
  • To ensure that the donated items are delivered to non-profits Estoy Con Puerto Rico identified, FEMA requested – and Estoy con Puerto Rico submitted - a plan of ground operation in Puerto Rico that included donated item pickup, storage and delivery. 
Step Two:  Finding Planes, Trucks, Drivers, Warehouses and More
  • Working with the Puerto Rico Chamber of Commerce and the United Retailers Center, 5 trucks with drivers and fuel have been identified to unload the plane and drive items to a warehouse provided by the United Retailers as storage for donated items when they arrive at Luis Munoz Marin Airport.
  • At the warehouse items will be sorted and distributed in accordance to items needed by each of the organizations listed.   Approximately 50 volunteers will be on the ground to make sorting and distribution happen.
  • Estoy Con Puerto Rico, working with UPS, has identified LAN Logistics Inc. to deliver item by air from NY to PR. The delivery of goods will be an in-kind contribution that was negotiated with UPS and LAN. LAN will have enough fuel to arrive and depart Puerto Rico, (a requisite of FEMA)
  • The donated items coming from the tristate area are being stored at a warehouse owed by a local Brooklyn businessman.


Step Three:  Networking with Others Positioned to Help
  • Two warehouses in Brooklyn are full to capacity with donations to be shipped thanks to the efforts of Joe Muñiz, president of the NYS Federation of Hispanic Chambers of Commerce.  The collection was done in conjunctions with Congresswoman Velasquez and Assemblywoman Maritza Davila’s District Offices.
  • National Supermarket Association members agreed to pick up donated goods and bring to storage area as well as deliver and load goods unto cargo plane when approval is granted.
  • The National Supermarket Association is developing plan to receive donated items in each of its supermarkets in the tristate area. 


Step 4:  Identify Qualified Non-Profit Organizations and the Specific Supplies Those They Serve Need
  • El Mesón del Amor provides free meals to hungry students in need at the University of Puerto Rico Rio Piedras Campus. Food is cooked and donated by volunteers Mondays through Thursdays. Many students suffer hunger in silence.
  • HealthproMed, 30-year old nonprofit 330 Federally Qualified Health Centers that provides primary and preventive ambulatory health services in several of Puerto Rico’s poorest areas, Barrio Obrero, in San Juan, Vieques, Culebra and Loiza
  • Puerto Rican Family Institute Inc., a nonprofit, multi-program health and human services agency whose primary mission is to prevent family disintegration and enhance the self-sufficiency of the underserved community. The PRFI Head Start Program currently serves 1,800 children through its 46 centers located in the New York and Puerto Rico, in 15 municipalities including San Juan, Corozal, Bayamon, Trujillo Alto, Ciales, Rio Grande, and Caguas.
  • Iniciativa Comunitaria, a holistic addiction prevention non-profit organization that provides services related to HIV/AIDS prevention, education and treatment. It provides services to homeless people and drug rehabilitation services with comprehensive programs and services ranging from detoxification to reintegration to life itself. In addition, ICI in alliance with various communities, has established programs in education and prevention services for young people exposed to street violence and school dropouts.
  • New York Foundling de Puerto Rico (NYF), a Catholic Charities affiliated non-profit organization that has provided high quality Early Head Start, (EHS) and Head Start, (HS), services in Puerto Rico for over thirty years. It provides EHS and HS services to 1,161 children and their families in 28 centers.  It is an integral part of serving the neediest of children and families in the most impoverished communities on the island with an increased focus on meeting the substantial need in San Juan, Cataño, Coamo, and Vega Alta, Puerto Rico.   
  • Old San Juan Heritage Foundation, LLC, a socially responsible not-for-profit enterprise whose mission is to become the premier cultural heritage and community sustainable tour operator in Puerto Rico in neighborhoods like La Perla, once infamous neighborhood and now in transition, through community renewal and revitalization projects.   
  • Parroquia Santo Cristo de Salud serves the elderly and children of the parish
  • Iglesias Defensora de la Fe in Naranjito serves the elderly and children 
  • Puerto Rico CONCRA (Punta de la Montaña), a non-profit organization that provides services related to the prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS in Puerto Rico.
  • The Puerto Rico Chamber of Commerce, (PRCC), a private, voluntary, non-profit Chamber of Commerce whose vision is to create sustainable socioeconomic conditions that energizes Puerto Rico’s competitiveness, while promoting innovation and the entrepreneurial spirit. PRCC has opened six collection centers throughout the Island, (Guaynabo, Mayagüez, Ponce Arecibo, San Juan, Caguas), to help victims of Hurricane María.
  • Centro Unido de Detallistas (CUD) – the United Center of Retailers, the largest and oldest non-profit commercial/business institution on the island, founded in 1891. The CUD covers over 165 business categories, making it the most representative institution of the small and medium business class and one with great credibility before the legislative, public, and private forums in Puerto Rico. 
Step 5: Tally Items Requested
  • Water
  • Non-perishable foods
  • Gluten-free Food
  • Organic Food
  • Milk (boxed and powered)
  • Baby Formula/Baby Food
  • Generators (400)
  • Mold Removal products
  • Clorox, Clorox tablets to disinfect
  • Black heavy-duty garbage bags
  • Masks
  • LED Lanterns and flashlights & LED/Battery operated flashlights
  • Battery and solar powered lanterns and bulbs 
  • Battery and solar radios
  • Batteries (all sizes)
  • Battery operated Fans
  • Phone charging battery packs
  • Fuel (Diesel and Gas)
  • Hand sanitizers
  • Diapers – all sizes
  • Hygiene products, (soap, body wash, deodorant, shampoo/rinse, toothpaste /toothbrushes, q-tips, sanitary napkins, baby wipes)
  • Paper and disposal goods, (plates, napkins, cutlery, paper towels and cups
  • Clothing (men/women summer)
  • First Aid kits/items
  • Mosquito repellent/Insect Repellant
  • Triple AAA Antibiotics & other first aid resources
  • Vitamins C, D (to avoid airborne illnesses/colds)


Step 6:  Solicit Puerto Rico Recovery Effort Donations
  • Catholic Charities NY and various forums are actively soliciting donations
  • Several events are being planned including During Puerto Rican Heritage Month in November, Comité Noviembre will ask guests at its National Puerto Rican Artisans Fair and Exhibit on Saturday, November 18, 2017 from 12 noon to 4 p.m. at Hostos Community College to donate items listed above to Estoy Con Puerto Rico.


  • Catholic Charities reported that as of Wednesday October 11th, over $120,000 has been donated through the Estoy Con Puerto Rico Relief Effort


Help us Help Puerto Rico Recover


Catholic Charities of New York is serving as a conduit for donations for Puerto Rico Relief and Recovery efforts.

Donate by Mail: Make checks payable to “Catholic Charities/Estoy Con Puerto Rico” and address to:

Catholic Charities/Estoy Con Puerto Rico, 1011 First Avenue, 11th floor, New York, NY 10022

Donate Online:  Visit 

On the web form, type “Estoy con Puerto Rico” in the text field below ”Optional: Designate Your Contribution”

Learn more about our recent disaster relief efforts: