Grassroots Alliance Readying Humanitarian Flight to Puerto Rico
MIAMI FLA, December 8 – On Sunday, December 10, 2017, a privately organized humanitarian flight to Puerto Rico will depart at 6am from Miami International Airport. The small group of grassroots organizations arranging the landmark flight is close to reaching its fundraising goal of $75,000, but is still welcoming donations to deliver 30,000 pounds of relief supplies to the island and return with 130 people whose medical needs or disabilities prevent them from flying to the mainland without special accommodations or medical support.
“The evacuation wait list grows daily because most hospitals on the island still cannot meet the needs of the communities they serve,” according to Valerie Edmondson Bolaños, Warrior Angels Rescue. “We are launching a Sister Hospital Program to bring medical care and supplies back to the island, but there are people who will not survive if they do not get to a hospital in the meantime.”
Warrior Angels Rescue is spearheading the effort, which includes partnerships with Rosana Guernica, CMU (Carnegie Mellon University) Student’s Humanitarian Mission to Puerto Rico, and Ryan Gergen and Jill Jacobs of Hope Heroes NFP/Save Our People Project. “Combined, these three teams have evacuated nearly 600 patients by air, and sent 163,000 pounds of relief aid to the island,” said Guernica.
“Cargo is still being held at ports and not getting to people,” notes Jacobs. “What we are doing brings aid directly to the most vulnerable people affected by this disaster, and evacuates those who absolutely must leave if they are to survive.” The supplies onboard include such items as solar lights, tarps, water filters, cribs, hospital equipment, over the counter medications, adult incontinence supplies, walkers, bath chairs, wheelchairs, bed pads, new clothing, mini refrigerators to cool medication, and braces
What is most amazing to Gergen is how complete strangers banded together to provide aid in times of crisis. “In such catastrophic times we have unified together as small groups, partnering to create our own solutions, to benefit a greater cause,” he said.
Hope Heroes NFP/Save Our People Project
Hope Heroes NFP, founded by Ryan Gergen, is a group of everyday individuals with heroic passions, whose mission is providing hope to disaster and crisis survivors during their time of hardship. A Chicago area non-profit, Hope Heroes, NFP has now joined with Jill Jacobs, a Disability Activist/Artist from Northern Virginia. Jill’s #SaveOurPeople Project focuses on coordinating health and social services, supply delivery, evacuation, community support, and policy initiatives for disabled children and adults. For additional information, visit: Hope Heroes NFP
Warrior’s Angels Rescue
Valerie Edmondson Bolaños, a stay-at-home mother in LA, established Warrior Angels Rescue to cut through bureaucratic red tape and set up evacuations for those most desperately in need in Puerto Rico. A team of volunteers from across the US brings chartered planes to Puerto Rico filled with supplies and leaving with people. In over 17 flights, the organization has delivered supplies like food, water, and health equipment, and has matched needs with ongoing care for evacuees. For additional information visit: Warrior Angels Rescue
MU Student’s Humanitarian Mission to Puerto Rico
Rosana Guernica is a junior at Carnegie Mellon University (Pittsburgh, PA) who has spent the past two months, since Hurricane Maria hit her hometown, organizing humanitarian missions to Puerto Rico. Through crowdfunding she enlists private charters to take herself, volunteers, and much needed aid to the island, deliver it directly into the hands of doctors and community leaders, and evacuate patients on the return flight, reuniting them with their families in Florida, who ensure that they receive required medical attention. For additional information, visit: CMU Student’s Humanitarian Mission to Puerto Rico