By Ana Gabriela García
The new initiative “Students with Puerto Rico” will begin collecting monetary donations, as well as hygienic products, household articles, water and canned food this Wednesday, October 4 at Moseley. Their table will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
This movement, which has gained momentum and attraction from Senior Staff like president Leo Lambert and the university paper, The Pendulum, was created only a few days ago.
President Lambert showed his support earlier today when he made a donation to “Unidos with Puerto Rico,” the Go Fund Me page that works as an umbrella to the national Fund page “Students with Puerto Rico” and the local one, “Elon with Puerto Rico.”
In response to the positive attention that the initiative has received, Kevin Vergne, a Puerto Rican junior, said
“I’m very motivated to start being active and helping my community back home. We’re all U.S. citizens, we should be helping each other out.”
The original brainstorming for the initiative happened on Friday, when a group of students huddled together in the top floor of Moseley for an informal chat about their island’s current humanitarian crisis. There they outlined ideas and goals of how best to help assuage the damage of hurricane María.
Their motivation came from wanting to do more than collect the 1,000 plus dollars in donations that they and 75 other Universities and Colleges across the nation had promised to send to “Students with Puerto Rico.” As the distribution of food, gasoline, electricity and water in the island waned, it became clear that the best way to help was to collect necessary products that had become scarce.
The articles they are asking the extended Elon community to donate are:
• Personal Care Kits: toothpaste, toothbrushes, tampons, soa
• Water purification tablets
• Flashlights and small radios that are solar or battery operated
• Small Tents
• Sleeping Bags
• Mosquito Repellent and Bug Spray
• Canned Non-Persihable Foods
• First Aid Kits
• Baby Formula
• Hand Sanitizer
• Trash Bags
Presently, the national “Students with Puerto Rico” Go Fund Me, which started with Puerto Rican students in the University of Pennsylvania, has successfully surpassed its goal of 150k with 155,489 dollars. Everyone from friends and family, to other U.S. citizens, to celebrities like Jimmy Fallon have donated money to the page.
The humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico has turned somewhat violent, with increasing instances of assaults at gunpoint for diesel, gasoline and other necessary goods that have not been distributed to all the island. However, Trump’s discouraging tweets and the anxious state of the island’s residents have not dissuaded others to help, in fact it has motivated both residents and Puerto Ricans living in the mainland United States to help their island.