ITHACA, N.Y. — As Puerto Rico struggles to recover after Hurricane Maria, members of the Ithaca community are doing what they can to help from afar.

Members of the Puerto Rican Students Association at Cornell University are collecting donations in the form of goods and money to help Puerto Rico begin the slow process of rebuilding.

The Puerto Rican community in Ithaca and at Cornell University is bigger than many realize, Alina Amador, a junior at Cornell University and member of PRSA, said. Amador said she didn’t know herself until the hurricane.

“You see this on the news, but it’s impacting our lives directly,” Amador said. “We don’t really know how we’re going to get through this, but we’re doing the best we can here in Ithaca.”

Last week, Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico with winds up to 150 miles per hour. The storm caused flooding, toppled trees, heavily damaged buildings, roads and other infrastructure. The island is 100 percent without power and it may take up to six months to restore to the millions who live there.

A GoFundMe called “Students With Puerto Rico” has raised nearly $90,000 so far. The proceeds will go to Unidos por Puerto Rico, a public-private initiative started by the office of the First Lady Beatriz Isabel Rosello and several companies.

The GoFundMe was started by college students across the U.S. who “anxiously witnessed the wrath of Maria from the outside and felt helpless,” the page states.

PRSA has also set up large, red bins in several locations at Cornell University to collect goods. The bins are located in Anabel Taylor Hall, Appel, RPCC, Mann Library, Noyes and Willard Straight Hall. Goods that are needed include dry or canned food, battery chargers, battery-powered radios, batteries (AA, AAA, C, D), baby clothes, formula and diapers, personal hygiene products, mosquito repellent, duct tape and medicine.

The drive for goods at Cornell will last until the end of the week.

Another goods drive is also in the works for Downtown Ithaca, but details are not available yet.

Texas, Florida, the U.S. Virgin Islands and other places impacted by powerful hurricanes have also not been forgotten in the Ithaca community. A recent benefit concert at The Range for Hurricane Harvey raised more than $800 and another is planned this week.

Houston native Victoria “Vee” DeBerry is hosting a second benefit concert for hurricane relief. The concert will take place from 6 p.m. to 1 a.m. Wednesday at The Haunt.

Related: Ithaca native recalls harrowing experience weathering Hurricane Irma on St. John

The proceeds from the upcoming benefit will go towards disaster relief for Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. There will be performances by Janet Batch, Feed the Fire, Bess Greenberg, Tenzin Chopak, Stranded with a Kiss, Vee Da Bee, Arthur B & the Planetary Mix, Noon Fifteen, Friends with Benny’s, and the award-winning DJ HA-Meen will be spinning in between bands. There is a $10 suggested donation.

Local volunteers with the American Red Cross also traveled to Texas to help with relief efforts after Hurricane Harvey.

How to help with hurricane relief

Featured image: “Puerto Rico National Guard” by The National Guard licensed under CC BY 2.0.  The image shows Puerto Rico National Guard Soldiers, of the 783rd Maintenance Company, in Toa Baja, PR continue supporting the city after Hurricane María, transporting more than 6000 gallons of water to the San José community, Sept. 24. (Photo by Alexis Velez)

Kelsey O'Connor

Kelsey O'Connor is the managing editor for the Ithaca Voice. Questions? Story tips? Contact her at koconnor@ithacavoice.com and follow her on Twitter @bykelseyoconnor.