Mayor de Blasio, Speaker Mark-Viverito Announce Aid For Hurricane Maria Residents

December 18, 2017

Mayor Bill de Blasio and Harlem Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito today announced a public-private partnership to provide over $1.5 million worth of supplies… ­– including clothing, bedding and other home goods – to residents displaced by Hurricane Maria, which struck Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands on September 21st.In addition, over $200,000 has been pledged from New Yorkers through the Mayor’s Fund website, voluntary payroll donations from NYC employees, and a month-long campaign led by iHeartMedia since the hurricane.

“It’s moments like these when I’m most proud of this city,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “Not only have we welcomed those displaced from Hurricane Maria into our city and our homes, New Yorkers from every borough have also donated to help ensure they’re comfortable once they get here. It’s that spirit that makes New York City the best city in the world.”

“In the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, New Yorkers have shown time and time again that they are willing to come together to help Puerto Rico – whose residents are still struggling with lack of water, electricity, and basic living supplies,” said Speaker  Melissa Mark-Viverito. “I am proud to lead Council efforts to assist the island as it continues to rebuild. In addition to the $200,000 donated by New Yorkers, over $1.5 million worth of supplies will be contributed through the joint effort of the Council, the Mayor’s Office, and community partners, and we will help support Puerto Rico in whatever way possible going forward.”

“New Yorkers have shown extraordinary compassion and goodwill for our sisters and brothers in Puerto Rico with this outpouring of donations in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria,” said First Lady Chirlane McCray, Chair of the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City. “This public-private partnership, fueled by the generosity of New Yorkers, fully supports those struggling to rebuild their homes and communities.”

“Once again, New Yorkers have come together to support others in need. Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands faces a long road to recovery and we must do everything in our power to support evacuees from Hurricane Maria who come to New York City seeking security and support. Today we announce a public private partnership to give our new neighbors critical necessities they need. Thank you to our generous partners Delivering Good, Macy’s, Target, NYDIS and others who have come together to represent the best of New York City,” said Gabrielle Fialkoff, Senior Advisor to the Mayor and Director of the Office of Strategic Partnerships.

Immediately following Hurricane Maria, the City began collecting donations of critically-needed supplies at firehouses, EMS stations, and police stations across the five boroughs, as well as working with other organizations that collected donations, as well. Over 420 tons – or 840,000 pounds – of critically-needed supplies, including batteries, first-aid kits, diapers, baby food, feminine hygiene products and water have been collected.

The Mayor’s Fund is working with Delivering Good, Macy’s and Target to provide new winter clothing, bedding, household and other goods totaling $1.5 million to address the unmet needs of displaced Puerto Ricans and residents of the US Virgin Islands through the Hurricane Evacuee Service Center (HESC).Since the Service Center opened, the New York Disaster Interfaith Services has been conducting interviews and needs assessments with displaced families. NYDIS estimates that approximately 5,000 new Puerto Rican and US Virgin Island residents in New York currently have unmet needs in terms of basic clothing and household supplies – and that number is expected to increase during the next 6-12 months as more individuals arrive.

The partnership also includes Macy’s, which donated 800 coats valued at $40,000, and Target provided $10,000 in gift cards to support families with school-age children in need of clothing and school supplies. All these provisions will be distributed through a marketplace operated by NYDIS and will be serviced in coordination with New York City’s Hurricane Service Center. The Mayor’s Fund has pledged up to $26,000 to Delivering Good to support these efforts, as well as an initial $15,000 to support NYDIS and the Salvation Army’s early work to bridge immediate clothing and shoe needs. The Salvation Army is also providing warehouse space and delivery support to NYDIS’ Marketplace.

The Mayor’s Fund collected over $200,000 total in pledged and received donations, with more than 8,000 New York City employees pledging $100,000 in payroll deductions; every day New Yorkers pledging $83,000; and $50,000 from the month-long fundraising campaign ran by iHeartMedia. A portion of these funds will go to UNIDOS Disaster Relief and Recovery Program and International Medical Corps.

The Mayor’s Fund also raised funds to support emergency relief for Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, raising a total of $112,000. These funds will support relief efforts being led by the American Red Cross, UNICEF, and the Greater Houston Community Fund.

Following the launch of the City’s donation drive in September, the City partnered with JetBlue, Delta and United Airlines to ensure donated items reached affected areas. Many cultural and community organizations throughout the five boroughs hosted their own donation drives to contribute to the City’s efforts, including the Brooklyn Museum.

In addition to collecting over 420 tons of supplies, bottles of water, and boxes of food, the City has deployed 299 employees to the island to provide a range of specialized support. These city workers include staff from the Fire Department, Police Department, Emergency Management, Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Department of Sanitation, and the Parks Department. Among other assistance, these city workers assisted with setting up a supply distribution center, debris management, building inspections, forestry work and search and rescue operations.

“For the survivors of Hurricane Maria the journey to recovery has just begun and it’s important to remember that now they need our help more than ever,” said Department of Social Services Commissioner Steven Banks. “It is inspiring to see people helping however they can, with donations, relief efforts on location, and assistance at our Hurricane Relief Center. We want to thank all our partners who have made a difference in the lives of so many. We must show as much resolve in our desire to help as the people of Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands do in enduring after the storm.”

“Many hurricane victims have received assistance thanks to the generous New Yorkers who donated cash through the Mayor’s Fund and supplies through the City’s donation drive,” said NYC Emergency Management Commissioner Joseph Esposito. “Each day, we’re continuing to transport donated items to affected areas while assisting hurricane evacuees in NYC at the Hurricane Evacuee Service Center.”

“It has been inspiring to see so many New Yorkers rally behind our brothers and sisters in Puerto Rico, following the unprecedented damage caused by the hurricane season this fall. As we have done with past events that have a major impact on New York and New Yorkers, we are gratified to utilize the Mayor’s Fund to play even a small role in response, and in helping New Yorkers answer the call to help their neighbors,” said Darren Bloch, Executive Director of the Mayor’s Fund.

Lorraine Cortés-Vázquez, Senior Advisor to the Mayor, said, “Mayor Bill de Blasio has been unwavering in his support for Puerto Rico and Puerto Ricans in New York City. Before Hurricane Maria made landfall, he marshaled our City’s elite emergency response teams from NYCEM and other agencies to plan the City’s response. He continues to support Puerto Ricans on the Island and those who have come to New York City. We stand proud that our city has served as a model for many other U.S. cities’ hurricane response efforts.”

“Delivering Good is proud to assist the city’s efforts to aid displaced hurricane victims New York City. Every New Yorker deserves a helping hand, and brand new clothes, bedding, home goods, and warm winter coats will help these families get a fresh start in their new homes,” said Lisa Gurwitch, President and CEO of Delivering Good. Our industry connections will help us provide the highest-quality products to meet a wide variety of needs for evacuees. We are eager to get started on this important work.”

“New York has always been a refuge for those who need our help. Thousands of Puerto Rico and USVI evacuees have arrived in our city, many with little or no clothing – having lost everything during Hurricanes Irma and Maria. In partnership with our members and donors, NYDIS has been providing emergency cash assistance and metro cards to evacuees in crisis,” said Peter B. Gudaitis, Executive Director, New York Disaster Interfaith Services. “Thanks to the efforts of the NYC Council Speaker and NYCEM Commissioner, NYDIS has now opened an Evacuee Marketplace where donated new (only new) clothing and home goods will be distributed to evacuees trying to rebuild their lives and make NYC their home temporarily or permanently.”

“Lite FM is honored to have been a part of raising funds for The Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City for Puerto Rico Hurricane Relief. We know how critical the donations are for our friends in Puerto Rico and we really wanted to step up and show our support,” said Chris Conley, 106.7 Lite FM Program Director.

“Macy’s executives and associates share a deep connection to the communities where we live and work,” said Sam Harrison, Vice President of Corporate Communications, Giving and Volunteerism at Macy’s. “We’re pleased to take part in this partnership, helping our friends and neighbors from Puerto Rico and New York City rebuild their lives following these natural disasters.”

“iHeartRadio NYC is committed to helping serve our local communities in need and we felt that it was imperative to join The Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City and their efforts to assist the people of Puerto Rico recover from the devastation of Hurricane Maria,” said Scott Hopeck, President, New York Region, iHeartMedia Markets Group. “Thousands of our listeners’ families living in Puerto Rico have been displaced by this natural disaster and we will continue to partner with the Mayor’s office to offer opportunities for New Yorkers to contribute to relief efforts.”

“More than 1.1 million New Yorkers have roots in Puerto Rico, including many members of the MoMA and MoMA PS1 staff, and we have been privileged to work with so many artists from the island including Papo Colo and Allora & Calzadilla, among others” said Klaus Biesenbach, Director, MoMA PS1 and Chief Curator at Large, The Museum of Modern Art. We are honored to help with the city’s strong rescue efforts and to host a fundraiser for Puerto Rico in October in collaboration with Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer, which included rousing remarks from Speaker  Melissa Mark-Viverito drawing over 1000 guests and donors including Rosie Perez . This is only the beginning of our ongoing support for Puerto Rico and its vibrant and resilient artist community.”

“As New York’s Hometown Airline and the largest airline in Puerto Rico, it’s been an honor to join with so many passionate individuals and organizations in the hurricane relief efforts,” said Robin Hayes, JetBlue’s president and CEO. “The outpouring of caring and support from the NYC community has been tremendous and we know it has made a meaningful impact. The work is far from done, though, and we will continue to stand with the Puerto Rican community as they rebuild stronger than ever.”

“Puerto Rico needs every single bit of help it can get, and the supplies and funds raised through this partnership will go a long way towards helping the people of the island recover following the devastation of Hurricane Maria. I’d like to thank Mayor de Blasio, Speaker Mark-Viverito and everyone who has contributed something to help the people of the Commonwealth since Hurricane Maria. More work certainly needs to be done, but the work that has been done has certainly had a major impact,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

“New Yorkers have stood firm and united in our efforts to support residents displaced following Hurricane Maria,” said U.S. Representative Adriano Espaillat. “Our commitment through donations, large and small, to provide basic necessities, supplies and resources remain critical to helping affected individuals get back on track. I am proud to stand with Mayor de Blasio and Speaker  Melissa Mark-Viverito for today’s announcement to further our public-private partnership for continued support of displaced residents throughout Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.”

“New Yorkers continue to step up when it comes to providing relief to the millions of Americans in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands that were devastated by Hurricane Maria. The road to recovery will be long and full of challenges, but efforts like these are essential to helping the islands and its people rebuild,” said State Senator Gustavo Rivera. “I thank Mayor de Blasio and Speaker Mark-Viverito for their leadership and I look forward to continue working with them to provide much needed relief to those affected by Hurricane Maria.”

“Puerto Rican disaster relief has been my top priority since Maria hit the island,” said Assembly Assistant Speaker Felix W. Ortiz. “My office has served as a supply hub, collecting and sending needed medical, food and other supplies and clothes. I welcome this new effort to help continue the recovery. We must all remember that our friends and families in Puerto Rico are still in great need.”

Assembly Member Luis Sepulveda said, “New York once again has shown it is a city with a heart. Along with posting information about city donation centers, my district office was filled to the rafters with donations of bottled water, canned goods, diapers, clothing and other items that were shipped out in the first round. Now we are filling up again with donations, as well as with warm clothing for those refugees from the affected islands who have fled to New York. The road to recovery will be a long one, I fear. But with the massive caring effort by the city and others, I believe it has already been made that much shorter.”

“The road to recovery for Puerto Rico will be a long one, but New Yorkers have united to instill hope for the thousands of families impacted. The over 400 tons of supplies collected and money raised is a testament to the New York spirit and our commitment to aid displaced families. I commend the Mayor and the Speaker for their expeditious response to Hurricane Maria victims and commend the City of New York for their contributions to the relief efforts, large and small,” said Council Member Antonio Reynoso.

To learn more about the Mayor’s Fund, visit



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