UPDATE (11:20 a.m. Tuesday) — An additional event at Ithaca College was added to this list.

ITHACA, N.Y. — Millions of people continue to struggle in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands after Hurricanes Irma and Maria. In Ithaca, there are ways to help with relief efforts.

Sixteen people have died as a result of the storm, though that number is expected to rise. Most of the island and its 3.4 million residents are without power and likely will be for months, and more than half of the territory still does not have access to drinking water.

The U.S. Virgin Islands have also been struggling after Hurricanes Irma and Maria. More than 100,000 U.S. citizens live on St. Thomas, St. John and St. Croix.

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

Local groups and individuals have been finding ways to help, whether that’s through raising money, organizing goods drives or events. Some people are even planning to spend a chilly night camping out on Cornell University’s Arts Quad to raise money for disaster relief efforts for Puerto Rico and other areas impacted by natural disasters. Many of the fundraisers are specifically to help Puerto Rico, but there are others to help with natural disaster relief for the U.S. Virgin Islands, Florida, Texas and Nepal, India and Bangladesh.

Here are a few local initiatives to raise funds:

#StayStrongPR — Ithaca resident Don Manuel has started a fundraiser to help fly people out of Puerto Rico. The conditions in Puerto Rico hit home, he said, since he has family in Puerto Rico. Manuel said the funds will go directly to people in need. People can donate to his YouCaring crowdfunding page. If anyone has friends or family that need help getting out of Puerto Rico, contact Manuel on Facebook or at donmanuelpresents@gmail.com.

Le Commons Bistro — There is also a fundraiser for #StayStrongPR at Le Commons Bistro on the Ithaca Commons. On Thursday, 20 percent of proceeds will go toward #StayStrongPR.

#StayStrongPR at Hotel Groton — A music and dance event that will go from noon Friday until midnight Saturday. Stay tuned to the Facebook page for more details.

Students with Puerto Rico — Students across the country, including Cornell University, have so far raised $158,000 for relief efforts. The funds go directly to Unidos por Puerto Rico.

Puerto Rican Student Association at Cornell — The student group is continuing to collect donations for Unidos por Puerto Rico using Venmo. People can donate directly using the handle @PRSACornell. PRSA has also partnered with Agava, so that this Wednesday, $1 of every ticket will go toward hurricane relief as well as a portion of their drink sales.

Bake Sale — PRSA has also partnered with The F Word for a bake sale from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Oct. 12 in Mann Library. Proceeds go to Unidos por Puerto Rico.

Dragon Boat Friendship Festival — The organization, partnered with PRSA, is donating half of every team’s registration fee of $500 to disaster relief. The festival will take place Oct. 14. Teams of 10 paddlers will compete in a 200-meter dragon boat race.

Dance for Puerto Rico! — A night of Latin dance and music that will go from 8 p.m. Saturday until 12 a.m. Sunday. The event will benefit victims of Hurricanes Irma and Maria in Puerto Rico. There is $5 admission and free parking. Proceeds will be split between Fondos Unidos de Puerto Rico and Save The Children’s Hurricane Maria Relief Fund. There will be an intro to Bachata lesson and dancing all night, plus performances, a 50/50 raffle and local food and wine.

Arts Quad Camp-Out — Members of the Cornell community will camp out on the Arts Quad to support natural disaster relief efforts. All of the money donated during the event will go to Nepal, India and Bangladesh flood relief through GlobalGiving, Unidos por Puerto Rico and the Society of St. Vincent de Paul of Galveston-Houston. Contributors can choose where they want their money to go. The event begins at 9:30 p.m. Tuesday and goes until 7 a.m. Wednesday.

Sons of a Beach Fundraiser — The “Trop Rock” band Sons of a Beach will donate proceeds from a concert at The Range to assist the SOS Foundation with its recovery efforts in the Florida Keys. The foundation provides food security, nutrition education and meals to children and elderly through its community kitchen. The roof of the food pantry was ripped off during Hurricane Irma. The concert is $7 at the door and will take place from 8 to 11 p.m. Oct. 15 at The Range in Ithaca.

Supplies drive — A local supply drive is taking place at several locations in Tompkins County this week. The supplies will be transported to Florida and a shipping line has been lined up to get the supplies to Puerto Rico. Anyone who cannot make the following days and times can contact Karen Trask at ks297@cornell.edu. Volunteers are also needed. Contact Trask for more information. Drop off locations include:

  • Friday, Oct. 6 (9 to 11 a.m.) – Owego United Way Office
  • Friday, Oct. 6 (All Day) – Newfield Town Hall
  • Friday, Oct. 6 (9 a.m. to noon) – Tops Market  on Triphammer Road
  • Friday, Oct. 6 (12:45 to 6 p.m.) Tops Market on Elmira Road
  • Saturday, Oct. 7 (until 2 p.m.) – Newfield Town Hall
  • Saturday, Oct. 7 (9 a.m. to 2 p.m.) Hickory View Farms on Millard Hill Rod in Newfield

Supplies that are needed include water, baby formula and food, diapers, non-perishable ready to eat food, cereal bars, granola bars, rice, flashlights, batteries, personal hygiene items: toothbrushes, toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo, soap, hand sanitizer, feminine hygiene items, bug spray, etc., first aid items, fairly new clean blankets, like-new clean clothing, pet food, cleaning supplies and paper products: plates, cups, silverware, paper towels, toilet paper.

Donations at Ithaca College — IC students in the Park Scholars Program have teamed up with the Puerto Rican Students Association at Cornell to collect donations for Puerto Rico. Donations will be accepted at bins across campus until Friday. From there, they will be delivered to PRSA for shipment Saturday.

Donate items in the following locations: Gardens Laundry Room; Emerson Hall Lobby; Lyon Hall Lobby; Bogart Hall; Hilliard Hall; Talcott Hall; East and West Tower Lobbies; Terrace Dining Hall (upper area); Circles Community Building; and outside Park Scholar Lounge (3rd floor of Park School of Communications). Visit the group’s hurricane relief Facebook page for more information on what items are needed and for more opportunities to help.

There are also ongoing fundraisers for St. John and the U.S. Virgin Islands, including one by a local resident who fled after Hurricane Irma.

There is also a list of ways to help at a national level on PBS.

Know of an event or local fundraiser not listed here? Send an email to koconnor@ithacavoice.com.

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.