“With Our Pockets Full, and Our Hearts Wide Open”: Locals offer relief for those affected by recent hurricane string

Monica Westlake
A member of Arawak'Opia, the Bomba dance group at the Segundo Ruiz Belvis Cultural Center, performed at the Emergency Relief Fund for Hurricane Maria Fundraiser Sept. 22.

By Mackenzie Crosson

Hurricane Harvey hit Southeastern Texas Aug. 25, ravaging the state with record-breaking flood levels and displacing tens of thousands of residents. Then, Hurricane Irma crashed into the Caribbean before striking Southern Florida Sept. 10, destroying power lines and sending a flow of debris through the streets. With a mere 10 days to recover from Irma’s devastation, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands were hit by the surging winds of Category 5 Hurricane Maria, which paralyzed the entire U.S. territory with massive power outages and prevented Chicagoans from contacting relatives in Puerto Rico. 

It has been more than one month since Harvey’s landfall in Texas, but relief efforts continue nationwide for those affected by all three natural disasters. Here in Chicago, organizations such as the Puerto Rican Agenda, businesses like Hamburger Mary’s in Andersonville, and communities and individuals have organized emergency relief fundraisers and donation efforts to lend a helping hand to disaster victims.

Some of these efforts have collected funds that will be donated to larger relief organizations such as the American Red Cross, while others have collected supplies such as bottled water and food to assist communities in need.

All of these relief efforts show Chicago’s heart for affected communities, and this ongoing support has brought the impact of distant disasters closer to home.