Relief Drive for Puerto Rico Update

It’s been five months since students at Marquette University gathered supplies and donations for victims of Hurricane Maria. Here’s how it all went down.

In September 2017, a group of Puerto Rican students at Marquette University came together and collected items and donations from members of the Marquette and Milwaukee communities for victims of the hurricane-stricken island.

They held a relief drive outside the Alumni Memorial Union, filling boxes with canned goods, bottled water, batteries, and medicine. This event hit closer to home for some students who had family and friends living on the island during the storm and were facing the aftermath of the disaster.

The group of students managed to gather 7,000 pounds of supplies and food! In addition to the supplies gathered, they also managed to raise over $9,000 for Unidos Por Puerto Rico (United for Puerto Rico), the relief fund created by the first lady of Puerto Rico.

After the relief drive, students helped package, weigh, and fill two U-Haul trucks with the donations. Cristofer Borghese (a junior in the College of Arts & Sciences) and Danielle McCluskey Suarez (a senior in the College of Arts & Sciences), stayed on campus over Fall break last semester and drove the donations to a facility in Chicago that would ship the supplies to Puerto Rico.

“Thanks to all the students of Marquette”

From Chicago, the goods were shipped to Puerto Rico and delivered to a church called Parroquía San José de Villa Caparra. Once at the church, volunteers separated the supplies and distributed them to families and communities towards the center of the island (which was the area hit hardest by Hurricane Maria) still without power and water.

For their efforts in organizing and orchestrating the relief drive, Cristofer Borghese, Danielle McCluskey Suarez, Paola Canting-Reyes, Alex Martinez Pellot, and Irene Rojo Arisso received the Difference Makers Award from Marquette University President, Dr. Michael Lovell, during his fourth presidential address in January.

Cristofer, Danielle, Paola, Alex, Irene, and everyone who contributed to the relief effort, thank you for being the difference.