Fred Rogers often told this story about when he was a boy and would see scary things on the news:
My mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ To this day, especially in times of disaster, I remember my mother’s words, and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers — so many caring people in this world.
Americans have weathered a fairly serious hurricane season already this year, with Harvey, Irma, and Maria wreaking havoc in Texas, Florida, and the Caribbean. Puerto Rico, a U.S. Territory, got walloped by both Irma and Maria, and the combined hit has made recovery and relief efforts a challenge. Being an island, it does not have the advantage of proximity, as Texas and Florida do. Being a U.S. Territory, it does not have elected members of Congress shouting for aid. And yet, its citizens are fellow Americans, and they need our help too.
At Tighten, we value kindness, compassion, and empathy, and our hearts are heavy as we continue to see and hear stories from Puerto Rico. How can we help? What can we do? Last week, Dan and Matt issued a generosity challenge to our team — donate to a non-profit organization in support of Hurricane Maria recovery efforts in Puerto Rico by October 2, and employees' donations would be matched, dollar for dollar. They didn't give a limit. So we gave.
Tighten team members supported these organizations with their donations:
United for Puerto Rico is an initiative brought forth by the First Lady of Puerto Rico, Beatriz Rosselló, in collaboration with the private sector, with the purpose of providing aid and support to those affected in Puerto Rico by the passage of Hurricane Irma and Hurricane María. 100% of the proceeds will go to helping the victims affected by these natural disasters in Puerto Rico.
El Fondo Boricua is a fundraiser through The Saint Paul Foundation to assist nonprofits in Puerto Rico as the island rebuilds from Hurricanes Irma and Maria. Eligible donations will be matched by SotaRica LLC through October 19.
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission.
The Hispanic Federation is raising funds to facilitate deployment of fully trained and certified first responders, including paying for the flight to Puerto Rico and the accompanying arrangements. These first responders—comprised of NYPD and FDNY members and others—will join relief efforts on the island and provide the technical support and expertise so badly needed. Relief efforts include everything from examining the structural integrity of buildings so individuals can safely return to their homes to providing basic supplies like food and clean water.
Direct Relief works to equip healthcare providers who care for vulnerable people on an ongoing basis and during emergencies. Direct Relief’s strong network of trusted partners enables Direct Relief to assess immediate healthcare needs, understand the situation on the ground, and respond quickly and efficiently when a disaster strikes. Direct Relief is focusing relief efforts on the health facilities that serve people who rely on the healthcare safety net for essential services.
Final results of this effort? Team Tighten was able to donate $2,691.40 to help fellow Americans living in Puerto Rico. This included the matching funds from Dan and Matt, as well as an outside match from SotaRico LLC. We take some comfort in knowing those dollars will help people in the immediate aftermath of a disaster. We hope others in our communities will take up a similar challenge of reaching out to help in whatever way they are able. Let's all remember to look for the helpers, and be them when we can.