Red Cross grants $75K to Puerto Rican Diabetes Association
The American Red Cross recently announced it has awarded a $75,000 grant to the Puerto Rican Diabetes Association to support older adults in eight municipalities severely affected by Hurricane Fiona in 2022.
The grant will fund the evidence-based educational program “¡Al Rescate Prepárate!” (“To the Rescue, Get Ready!”) which focuses on diabetes management, medications, supplies and nutrition during emergencies.
Funding comes from the American Red Cross’ Hurricane Fiona Long-Term Recovery Program, made possible by donations received during the emergency. The Puerto Rican Diabetes Association will address emotional and psychological management during natural disasters and train staff at elderly centers.
The municipalities expected to benefit from this year-long grant are Salinas, Ponce, Yabucoa, Toa Baja, Arecibo, Hormigüeros, Vieques and Culebra.
“Older adults are among the most affected and vulnerable populations during disasters, even more so when they are in need of covering their medications and maintaining their health conditions stable,” said Lee Vanessa Feliciano, regional executive of the American Red Cross’ Puerto Rico chapter. “That is why we decided to work together with the Puerto Rican Diabetes Association in a program focused on diabetes response and management when natural disasters strike.”
The project will also develop a survey to gauge public perception of diabetes in Puerto Rico, aiming to understand how chronic conditions like diabetes are managed before, during and after emergencies.
“With more than 500,000 people in Puerto Rico living with diabetes (representing 19% of the population) and seniors 65 and older being the group with the highest prevalence (at 38%), it is essential to address this segment of the population directly to understand their needs,” said Brenda Padilla, executive director of the Puerto Rican Diabetes Association. “Through our educational and interactive proposals, we seek to empower them and provide them with a greater understanding of how to correctly manage their condition before, during and after emergency situations. We are deeply grateful to the Red Cross for giving us this opportunity to assist and support our seniors.”
After Hurricane Fiona struck, the American Red Cross, Puerto Rico Chapter, mobilized more than 350 volunteers and staff both on the island and stateside. They conducted more than 4,500 damage assessments, distributed more than 720,000 meals and snacks, and provided over $1.3 million in financial assistance to families with homes deemed destroyed or severely damaged.