Charities and relief groups were in overdrive responding to a punishing hurricane season when monster storm Maria ripped through the Caribbean last year.
The hurricane caused staggering damage in Dominica before moving on to Puerto Rico, where it left the U.S. territory in shambles — devastation so extensive that officials at the time said it could take months for the fragile power grid to be up and running and decades for the island to recover. The storm also caused damage elsewhere in the Caribbean, including the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Months later, storm victims still need your help. Here's a list of organizations and their initial efforts to give aid to the affected islands. Click on the links to see what they are up to now and what you can do to help.
Americares, a global health organization, had emergency teams deployed to Puerto Rico and Dominica. The group was working with the Puerto Rico Department of Health to stock emergency shelters in San Juan with medical equipment and supplies.
World Vision pre-positioned supplies such as water and hygiene kits in warehouses near the communities in the path of the storm. The Christian humanitarian organization was working with local partners to distribute those supplies in Puerto Rico and beyond.
The American Red Cross launched a multi-island relief effort with government officials and disaster partners in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Among the group's efforts: Deploying relief supplies such as water, rice, beans, insect repellent and home repair kits and shipping satellite phones to assist with communications.
The Salvation Army was working with local and national partners, such as UPS, to send relief kits with water, food and other supplies to areas in need. In Puerto Rico, the group said it was delivering about 5,000 meals per day and 8,000 relief supplies per day from locations in Loiza, Fajardo, Humacao and San Juan.
The International Medical Corps was providing emergency medical care, access to clean water and proper sanitation to ward off cholera and other water-borne diseases.
All Hands and Hearts — Smart Response was sponsoring community projects in the Virgin Islands, such as clearing paths to natural springs so people without their own water source can flush and shower.
GoFundMe had created a centralized hub to host all campaigns for those affected by Maria. Campaigns included an initiative started by college students called "Students with Puerto Rico" and the "Mirta & Angelo hurricane relief" — a campaign created for a woman's great-grandparents, 80 and 84, who are living "in the shell of a home" they have left south of San Juan.
Project HOPE, an international health care organization, deployed a team to Puerto Rico, which included doctors, nurses and mental health specialists, to deliver medicines and supplies and offer health expertise and medical training.
The New York Foundling, one of New York's oldest child-welfare agencies, was working to get the group's 42 locations in Puerto Rico up and running again so they can distribute emergency supplies. The organization serves nearly 1,500 children through Head Start programs on the island that feed and educate children.
Mercy Corps, a global humanitarian aid agency, deployed an emergency response team to Puerto Rico targeting access to cash, clean water, and other supplies for hurricane victims.
Save the Children, an international agency that supports children's rights and needs, was in San Juan distributing items such as tarps, diapers, wipes, and soap. The group also created safe spaces for children in emergency shelters.
Charity Navigator, an independent watchdog that appraises charities based on their tax filings, listed 10 groups responding to Maria that held a three- or four-star rating. You can find the list here. The group advises people to research relief organizations before making a donation.
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