Eighteen days after Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico, the Cambridge Police Department held a drive for relief supplies to send to Cambridge’s four Puerto Rican "sister cities."
Last Monday, the Cambridge City Council unanimously passed a resolution that named Coamo, Orocovis, Salinas, and Jayuya as Cambridge’s sister cities. The drive encouraged citizens to donate non-perishable items and critical recovery supplies, such as batteries, first aid and medical supplies, and personal care products.
According to Jeremy Warnick, director of Communications and Media Relations of the Cambridge Police Department, there are over a dozen officers in the department that were either born in or have family in Puerto Rico. Warnick said the hurricane had a deep impact on these officers, who were all subsequently involved in planning and volunteering at the drive. According to CPD, the drive “absolutely exceeded our expectations.”
“We were really overwhelmed with support,” Warnick said. “Even though the drive was officially from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., we had people showing up at eight in the morning, and even the day before, to drop off preliminary supplies.”
Warnick said the relief supplies from the drive filled up over four regular U-Haul trucks. Though this was a one-day event, Warnick said that department is considering sending officers of the Cambridge Police Department to the sister cities in Puerto Rico to help aid recovery efforts. The donated supplies are expected to arrive in Puerto Rico within the next few weeks.
Norman R. Storer ’19, Vice President of the Puerto Rican Students Organization at Harvard, said in an interview that he had not previously heard of this drive.
“As of yet, we haven’t collaborated with the City of Cambridge,” Storer said. “But that’s something that we will definitely look into since they’ve been so active, it would be a good operation.”
Storer said that though most of the Puerto Rican students at Harvard are from the metropolitan areas of Puerto Rico, Cambridge’s choice of its sister cities helps areas that otherwise may be overlooked.
“I think it’s important that Cambridge chose those cities because those are cities that are either [in] more rural areas, and they don’t necessarily have all the resources that metropolitan areas do, and it’s very important that they get attention through measures like these,” Storer said.
—Staff writer Lucy Wang can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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