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In the wake of Hurricane Maria that struck Puerto Rico and the Caribbean, and the recent earthquake in Mexico, our communities have been mobilized to help however possible. While many of you may have already taken action, we share the following information for those still looking for ways to bring some peace however possible to those in need.  The road towards recovery is long, so please keep our friends in all areas affected in your thoughts and prayers. 

Local Efforts to help Puerto Rico

The Salvation Army has an existing operation on the island, and so they are taking the lead in the response effort. The Salvation Army has an estimated 150 staffers home based in Puerto Rico. Since Hurricane Maria hit, they have been feeding and providing shelter to an estimated 14,000 people a day. For more information please visit, The Salvation Army of Eastern Pennsylvania and Delaware website to learn more about their efforts:
Councilwoman Maria Quinones Sanchez and State Representative Angel Cruz organized a campaign called Unidos PA’ PR(link is external) to raise money in an effort to aid the people of Puerto Rico.  Check out the Facebook link for fundraising events and donation opportunities.

The City of Philadelphia has resources on natural disasters in the Caribbean, Puerto Rico & Mexico for the list of resources, please visit:
Where to Donate to Mexico Earthquake Victims

New York Times list of resources and relief efforts:


Legal Corps for Puerto Rico
In collaboration with la Mesa de Trabajo de Acceso a la Justicia (Access to Justice Roundtable), the legal clinics at the University of Puerto Rico and Interamerican University Schools of Law and the Colectivo Accion Legal, as well as institutions in the U.S. like Columbia Law School, we are initiating efforts to organize and train lawyers (preferably bilingual) who will be able to help with post-disaster relief legal aid assistance. 

The volunteer efforts will likely develop across three stages:

Collect legal knowledge & information: We are identifying the relevant laws and regulations surrounding disaster relief and identifying collaborating organizations with experience who can help provide training and materials.

Offer & participate in trainings: Once legal needs have been identified, we will share information about webinars and live training opportunities. At least initially, there are conversations to host live trainings in New York City and Puerto Rico. If you have expertise or experience in offering legal aid after a natural disaster, please let us know.

Provide direct legal assistance: The initial capacity building stages will eventually devolve into providing direct assistance to individuals, families, and communities in need in Puerto Rico. We expect to begin sharing opportunities of this sort in a few weeks after the most urgent relief efforts have been completed and communication networks reestablished.

They hope to organize legal "brigades" of lawyers who can help go down and assist lawyers in Puerto Rico in filing FEMA claims, insurance claims, unemployment claims and other claims related to public benefits and assistance as needed.  

If you are interested in this service, please complete the form and submit.