Financial institution FirstBank has established a $250,000 relief fund to support the recovery of communities in the southwest area that were affected by the recent earthquakes.
During the first phase of the effort, the bank partnered with five nonprofit organizations that are offering services to families with pressing needs, namely: Centro de Microempresas y Tecnologías Agrícolas Sustentables (CMTAS); American Red Cross Puerto Rico Chapter,; One Stop Career Center of Puerto Rico Inc.; Ponce Neighborhood Housing Services Inc.; and the Salvation Army.
“Right now, we stand in solidarity with the residents and our employees who live in the towns of Guánica, Guayanilla, Peñuelas, Ponce, Utuado and Yauco,” said FirstBank President Aurelio Alemán.
“Our interest is to contribute items needed immediately and help relocate families to safe homes to minimize health problems,” he said. “We have also involved our staff with volunteer hours with organizations that are serving people in shelters.”
With the money Centro de Microempresas y Tecnologías Agrícolas from Yauco will buy food and goods needed to run a community lunchroom; the Red Cross will distribute comfort kits and blankets; the One Stop Career Center of Puerto Rico Inc. will buy basic needs items and backpacks for youth shelter residents in Ponce and Villalba; Ponce Neighborhood Housing Services Inc. will distribute essential items, food, cots, sheets and wheelchairs in shelters; and the Salvation Army will supply food and necessities in the affected towns.
The bank also created an essential supply distribution center to provide employees who reside and work in towns affected by the earthquake with boxes of goods. FirstBank has also coordinated psychological and emotional aid services through the Employee Assistance Program and has retain the services of two full-time psychologists at the branches in the southwest area, said Alemán.