Christmas In Puerto Rico

Christmas In Puerto Rico

As the holiday season was approaching, I decided I wanted to spend mine giving back. Unfortunately, these days, there are many disasters to choose from. However, I felt that Puerto Rico had been left largely ignored after Maria. The people there need their story told. So, I picked up my camera gear and spent ten very emotional days in post Hurricane Maria Puerto Rico. I heard stories that made me cry everyday, as my team and I delivered food, water, personal hygiene supplies, medical supplies, and Christmas toys to people still in need. Many of these people had yet to receive any, or very little, help over these past three months. 

However, despite everything, Puerto Ricans are strong, loving, amazing people, who really love Christmas! Many of these people, around 65%, have not had power since the storm, but that wasn’t going to stop them from decorating their homes!

This home was almost completely destroyed by Maria, the roof and ceiling were mostly destroyed, severely damaging the walls, which need to be rebuilt, and the once tile floor was washed away. They had not received any aid in over a month since we arrived, had no power, and the mother and grandmother were very sick due to the increasing mold in their home. You can see a face mask laying on the floor of their home, which was needed to help reduce the amount of mold the family was breathing in. However, they had just kind of given up on that by the time we arrived.

With their failing economy before the hurricane that devastated the American Territory, many Puerto Ricans found themselves without the funds, let alone a home, to celebrate the holidays.

A church destroyed by Maria just outside Morovis, a small municipality in the mountains of central Puerto Rico, still lay in ruins three months after the hurricane. Morovis continues to be without power, and many of the homes are still badly damaged, like most of central Puerto Rico. 

 

With the help of Hope Heroes NFP (who I went out with), Rene Rivera from the Chicago CubsSearsKMart, and the Salvation Army, we were able to bring Christmas, Santa, sleigh, 2000 toys, and smiles to many robust and proud kids of Puerto Rico.

We visited eight different schools, and were welcomed by the shouts from young kids seeing Santa for the first, and probably, the only time this year. With the crushing costs of having to rebuild their homes, the expensive cost of gas for generators, which most families could only afford to run up to four hours a day to power their homes, for these Puerto Ricans, this was going to be the only Christmas they would see. 

Forever grateful and happy holidays!

If you want to help Puerto Rico, please donate to Hope Heroes Here

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Article and Images by Kira Bucca Photography, Editor in Chief of Jejune Magazine, fashion and humanitarian photographer. Trying to make the world a better place, one click at a time. 

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