Christian Pulisic and Alex Idarra

Christian Pulisic is a midfielder for Borussia Dortmund, a German soccer club.

Alex Idarra is a seven year old who decided to raffle off the jersey his hero, Pulisic, had signed for him. The jersey could raise money for Puerto Rico, Alex figured. “I’m raffling it off because I’m trying to raise money for the Puerto Ricans that don’t have food and water,” he explained. “Puerto Rico’s really important to me because they’re one of our territories.”

“I just want to say, I think it’s really amazing what you’re doing, giving up something that means a lot to you,” Pulisic told Alex when he heard about the boy’s sacrifice. “Thank you very much for what you’re doing, I hope it’s going to help the people of Puerto Rico.”

Pulisic went on to send a donation to Puerto Rico’s disaster relief, and to send a new, signed jersey to Alex Idarra. The soccer player is 19.

The raffle, conducted by the American Outlaws Oakland, ended up raising $3,283 and change for Hispanic Federation UNIDOS Disaster Relief Fund.

This is a particularly heartwarming story, and it is just one of the many heartwarming stories of people making sacrifices to help Puerto Rico. For two young men to look outward and think of others gives hope.

The numbers

The numbers are not the same for Puerto Rico as for the states that have also faced hurricanes, though.

The Red Cross announced donations received for the three Hurricanes of September 2017:

  • Hurricane Harvey: $350 million
  • Hurricane Irma: $45 million
  • Hurricane Maria: $9 million

Catholic Charities shared the amount provided to each state or territory:

  • Texas: $2 million
  • Florida: $2.4 million
  • Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands: $1.2 million

(Data from USA Today)

FEMA lists the support given to Puerto Rico by the federal government. As of this writing, they report that 11.7% of residents in Puerto Rico have electricity. Information about the total amount of federal assistance for Hurricane Maria is of course not yet available, but will be posted on this page. We know that in the past, Puerto Rico has received less funding than states with similar populations. We hope that will not be the case this time.

Charitable giving has been impressive, but Congress needs to step up. Puerto Rico receives less in donations, has less in local funding, and needs support from Congress.

If Puerto Rico were a state, the island would have been better prepared for the devastation of Hurricane Maria.  If Puerto Rico does not become a state, the mass exodus of its people to the states will accelerate beyond the 64,000 net population loss last year – over 5,000 people each month.

Please encourage your representatives to help Puerto Rico, in the current emergency and for the future.

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