Members of the Puerto Rican Agenda – Cristina Pacione-Zayas, Co-Chair of the Puerto Rican Agenda, Fernando Grillo, Chair of the Board of Directors for Aspira, Inc. of Illinois and Juan Calederón, Chief Operations Officer of The Puerto Rican Cultural Center – traveled to Puerto Rico with a Chicago delegation including, Congressman Luis V. Gutiérrez and Mayor Rahm Emanuel to meet with the mayors of San Juan, Comerío, and Loíza on March 23rd and 24th, 2018. They will deliver 5,200 lbs of supplies collected by the Puerto Rican Agenda and $43k in cash to San Juan, Comerío y Loiza. Solar lamps and panels will be distrib- uted to community groups in the towns of Moca and Huma- cao, as well as critical medical supplies to the HIMA San Pablo Hospital in Cupey, which services several towns across the island. The Agenda will present $4,000 each to schools in Comerío and Loíza as a youth-to-youth fund- raising initiative with Chicago-based children sending funds to the children of Puerto Rico. This visit builds upon the Agenda’s continued mobilization of resources through its 3 R’s Campaign: “Rescue, Relief, and Rebuild” resulting in $250,000 distributed in micro-grants to 30 towns. The Chicago Community Trust recognized the Agenda’s effective strategy and recently awarded $100,000 for the purpose of distributing micro-grants on the island, supporting evacuee resettlement in Chicago, and advocating for policy change related to the Puerto Rico. The Puerto Rican Agenda of Chicago was the first organization of the Puerto Rican diaspora to land an airplane filled with cargo on the island, and to have that same plane return with 300 people stranded at the Luis Muñoz Marín Airport in Puerto Rico. Six months later, the devastating effects of Hurricane Maria are still felt in Puerto Rico. Many towns continue to experience challenges with limited electricity and drinkable water. Through the “Rescue, Relief, and Rebuild Campaign”, the Puerto Rican Agenda will adopt two of the poorest towns on the island and of the most devastated towns post-hurricanes – Comerío and Loíza – to concentrate efforts on rebuilding initiatives directed by Puerto Ricans on the island.
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