Immigrants And Refugees

Puerto Rico Aid: Catholic Charities of New York Provides Assistance

Residential Building in Puerto Rico Suffers Earthquake Damage Photo Credit: Catholic Charities New York Staff

To Donate is to Stand in Solidarity

Catholic Charities of New York stands ready to respond to the people of Puerto Rico whenever and wherever natural disaster strikes. With our partner organizations and ministry leaders, we specialize in meeting the critical needs for victims of natural disasters.  We provide food, water, shelter, relocation assistance, and other aid to Catholics and non-Catholics alike. Monsignor Kevin Sullivan, Catholic Charities of New York executive director; along with Talia Lockspeiser, Catholic Charites of New York’s associate executive director, and Beatriz Diaz Taveras, Catholic Charities Community Services’ executive director; are visiting the island to assess the needs of the people in the earthquake region. (Ms. Lockspeiser and Ms. Taveras are pictured right to left in the image above.)

Since December 31, nearly 950 earthquakes and aftershocks have hit Puerto Rico, with some reaching as high as magnitude 5.8 and 6.4. Over 400 people have been forced to evacuate. Homes, schools, churches, and infrastructure sustained major damage. Thousands of families have been sleeping outdoors in makeshift shelters, in cars, or in tents, afraid that another aftershock will cause homes around them to collapse.

Puerto Rico is no stranger to disasters and hardship. Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria, a deadly Category 5 storm, devasted the island in 2017. The island’s people faced widespread power outages, a lack of running water, food shortages, and rebuilding on a scale not before imagined. Catholic Charities of New York quickly mobilized to help with food, supplies, rebuilding assistance, solar panels, and much more.

For the poor and vulnerable people of the island, reliving the trauma of natural disasters is difficult. Our commitment to the people of Puerto Rico remains as strong today as it was then.


Because of you, Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York has provided over $30,000 to Caritas, Yo Estoy Con Puerto Rico, and to The New York Foundling — which operates 47 locations for children on the Island. The money raised goes directly to our Disaster and Emergency Fund and is distributed through our partners to help the people most affected. To help, please donate now.

Monsignor Sullivan and his team are meeting with Most Reverend Ruben Antonio Gonzalez Medina, C.M.F., Bishop of Ponce, and visiting towns in the area to speak with the people impacted and with relief workers. As part of our response, the Catholic Charities team will distribute emergency debit cards to displaced individuals in hard-hit areas so that they can meet their immediate needs of food, water, medicine, and shelter.

Catholic Charities of New York is also assisting 21 households with shelter and is helping to relocate an additional 18 families to the New York City area.

Children and Teachers from Catholic Charities’ New York Foundling Center In the Earthquake Region of Puerto Rico Photo Credit: Catholic Charities New York Staff


On September 28, 2017, local, national and Puerto Rican organizations launched Estoy con Puerto Rico (I am with Puerto Rico) at Catholic Charities New York headquarters in Manhattan.  The group includes Comité Noviembre, a consortium of Puerto Rican leaders and organizations, the National Association of State Latino Chamber of Commerce, the New York State Coalition Hispanic Chambers of Commerce and the National Supermarkets Association. Together with Estoy con Puerto Rico, Catholic Charities New York will continue to deliver much-needed assistance directly to the organizations that help the people.

“We are particularly saddened since Puerto Rico is still rebuilding from the devastation of Hurricane Maria,” said Monsignor Kevin Sullivan, Executive Director, Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York. “I witnessed firsthand the concrete on the groundwork of Comité Noviembre after Hurricane Maria. We are pleased to partner again to provide relief to the people of Puerto Rico.” You may also donate directly to Estoy Con Puerto Rico.

Please continue to pray for the people of Puerto Rico as they recover from the devastation caused by earthquakes.

Photo Credits: Catholic Charities Staff