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January 10, 2020

Here are some ways Philadelphians can help the Puerto Rico earthquake relief effort

A disastrous 6.4-magnitude earthquake that rocked Puerto Rico on Tuesday has some Philadelphia citizens stepping into action during the island’s state of emergency.

The quake displaced around 2,000 Puerto Ricans whose homes were damaged, cut power to most of the island, and left about 250,000 people without running water. One man was killed, and nine others were injured, CNN reported this week.

Puerto Rico, a Caribbean island and U.S. territory, is still recovering from Hurricane Maria which devastated the island in September 2017. The hurricane was deadly and the aftermath sparked controversy, both in the misreporting of its death toll and the U.S. relief effort response

Since the more recent natural disaster, Philadelphians are trying to turn the story around, as activist groups, Puerto Ricans living in Philly, religious groups, and restaurants are calling attention to the earthquake’s effects and providing aid. There are more 100,000 Puerto Ricans in Philadelphia, making it the city's largest Latinx population and accounting for around 4.5% of the city’s total population.

Philly Boricuas is a local grassroots organization that is leading a relief drive to send materials to the Southern parts of the island, which was hit the hardest. The group is collecting supplies and fundraising to pack backpacks full of supplies, like water filters, toilet paper, baby wipes, tampons, and food. So far Philly Boricuas has sent more than 250 backpacks.

Questions about making donations to Philly Boricuas can be emailed to, and donations of supplies can be dropped off at the following locations and times:

Providence Center, 2557 N. Fifth St, Philadelphia; Monday-Friday from 9 a.m.-6 p.m.
Make the Road PA, 7221 Rising Sun Ave., Philadelphia; Monday-Friday from 12 p.m.-8 p.m.
Rep. Malcolm Kenyata's Offfice, 1501 N. Broad St., Philadelphia; Monday-Friday from 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

Catholic parishes in and around Philadelphia are also calling for prayers for the island, especially by Puerto Ricans living in Philly who have family members still living on the island.

The restaurant Cuba Libre, in Old City, is helping raise funds within its doors. The Cuban eatery is asking diners to round up their checks to the nearest dollar – or more – between now and Feb. 1. The additional money will benefit the Hispanic Federation's relief efforts in Puerto Rico. On Sundays, the restaurant will match customer's donations at all of their four locations in Philadelphia, Atlantic City, Orlando, and Washington D.C.

Donations to the Puerto Rico relief effort can be made directly to the Hispanic Federation through the organization's website.