Through its community impact program “Santander Solidario,” Banco Santander Puerto Rico collected more than 1,700 jeans and 3,000 personal hygiene items that will be donated to various nonprofit organizations that provide services to the homeless population around the island.
The announcement was made recently during the donation to La Fondita de Jesús, one of the institutions benefited by this effort.
Lilian Díaz, vice president of Commercial Banking at Banco Santander Puerto Rico, the unit that led the collection of jeans and necessities, said “more than proud, we are grateful to be able to contribute to the mission of organizations such as La Fondita de Jesuú, which seek to improve the quality of life of the homeless, as well as promote their integration to the rest of the community.”
For Díaz, the initiative was also an opportunity to raise awareness among employees, family and friends about the situation of the homeless in Puerto Rico.
According to the latest Homeless Count, conducted in 2015 by the Family Department as a requirement of the U.S. Department of Housing, a total of 4,518 homeless people were identified on the island. The highest proportion of individuals were men 24 and older. In 2013, the number of homeless was 4,128, which represented an increase of 390 people over a two-year period, she said.
Santander was joined by students from the Colegio San José in Río Piedras, which collected 160 jeans and more than 100 personal hygiene items in a week, Díaz said.