Why Cash Is King In Puerto Rico

Cash is king—and that is particularly true when it comes to helping victims of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico.

According to a news report in CNBC, citing the Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster, those looking to help can do the most good by making cash donations. The organization’s website states that many disaster relief organizations can’t handle all the goods being shipped there in the early days of the recovery. The inability to handle the volume of donations is due to storage and sorting issues, as well as perishables spoiling as they wait to be distributed. Aid organizations are instead recommending cash donations, reported CNBC.

In many cases, a deluge of material goods creates “a second disaster,” said Regine Webster, a vice president at the Center for Disaster Philanthropy, in the CNBC interview. “There are systems in place to get people what they need,” she said, noting such mishaps as heavy coats being shipped to warn areas. Cash, on the other hand, can ensure that areas can obtain exactly what they need.

The report noted that through last Thursday, $295.3 million has been collected for the Harvey relief fund, with $98.3 million for Irma and $21.9 million for Maria.

Meanwhile, the Center for International Disaster Information provided 55 ways people can turn their goods into cash to send to Puerto Rico, including hosting a garage sale. What’s more, a slew of charities are taking cash donations online, including Unicef, the American Red Cross and Save the Children. There’s also United for Puerto Rico, a new relief effort created by the First Lady of Puerto Rico, Beatriz Rossello. It is backed by large companies, including Banco Popular, Coca-Cola, Burger King, Walmart, Walgreens, JetBlue and Bacardi. Global Giving, a crowdfunding website that set a goal of raising $5 million for Puerto Rico and the Caribbean, has collected $2.7 million from 22,803 people. The website matches donations to charities and groups in 170 countries, noted CNBC.


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