Students in Pforzheimer House have organized a large fundraising effort to raise money and collect supplies for a still-devastated and resource-deprived Puerto Rico after the havoc caused by Hurricane Maria.
The organizers of the event created a YouCaring page to raise money throughout the semester, setting a goal of $500. In addition to monetary donation efforts, the organizers placed bins in Pforzheimer House, encouraging students to donate items such as bottled water, first-aid kits, and hand sanitizer.
Hurricane Maria, a Category 4 storm, hit Puerto Rico in late September, devastating the United States territory.
One of the organizers of the event, Nathan W. Siegelaub ’18, a member of the Pforzheimer House Committee, said he was inspired to raise money after hearing about the situation in Puerto Rico from his elementary school teacher.
“I think that it is never too hard to give back a little because a little given downwards will go a long way for people who really need it,” Siegelaub said. “I don’t think most people quite grasp how dire it is in Puerto Rico right now and how much of it can go a long way.”
Organizers are also planning a pastelillo bake sale in the Quad next week to raise money. A pastelillo is a Puerto Rican dessert similar to a turnover.
Jesper W. Ke ’19, an inactive Crimson News editor and the public service representative for Pforzheimer House, said this fundraiser was a chance for the House to come together to support Puerto Rico.
“We decided that, more than just this fundraiser through [the Phillips Brooks House Association], we wanted to extend it to do something bigger, set a bigger goal for raising funds that we can send to nonprofits that are doing good work on hurricane relief,” Ke said.
Organizers stressed that this initiative was not just for Pforzheimer residents but rather an opportunity for all Harvard students to give to Puerto Ricans in need.
Francisco Matos ’20, an organizer of the effort, emphasized the importance of this fundraiser for many families and students—even on Harvard’s campus.
“I encourage everyone on campus to take these fundraisers seriously and respect them, because I currently have multiple family members with no roofs on their houses, and helping out this fundraiser, no matter how small a step, is the least I could do,” Matos wrote in an email.
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