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Walgreens, United Health, PRxPR donate $800K for hurricane relief

Private nonprofits have continued to announce donations in money and services to help those affected by Hurricane Fiona’s trek through Puerto Rico two weeks ago.

The United Health Foundation, the philanthropic foundation of UnitedHealth Group — the parent company of UnitedHealthcare and Optum — announced it is donating $200,000 to help residents of Puerto Rico in their ongoing recovery and rebuild following Hurricane Fiona.

The funds will be distributed to Direct Relief, a longstanding partner on disaster response. Funding will be directed to medical supplies to help strengthen Puerto Rico’s care delivery capabilities.

“We are deeply concerned for the people whose lives have been disrupted by Hurricane Fiona and we’re committed to helping them recover and rebuild,” said Legna Colon, vice president, Optum, Puerto Rico.

“We are also taking action to ensure the people we serve have access to the care they need and continue working to ensure the safety and well-being of our colleagues in the impacted areas,” she said.

In addition to financial support for the affected communities, UnitedHealth Group is taking the following actions:

  • Benefit Flexibility: UnitedHealthcare is offering benefit flexibility including early prescription refills, leniency and fee waivers on premium payments, extensions on claims filings, in-network coverage for out-of-network services, suspension of pre-certifications and referrals, and waiving authorization for transfers to skilled nursing facilities.
  • Free Emotional-Support Help Line:Optum is offering a free emotional-support help line to people affected by Hurricane Fiona. The toll-free number, 1-866-447-3573, is open Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.–8 p.m. CT. The service is free of charge and open to anyone. Callers may also receive referrals to community resources. Along with the toll-free help line, emotional-support resources and information are available online.

Walgreens to donates $500K to Puerto Rico
Meanwhile,Walgreens announced it is supporting storm relief efforts in communities across Florida, Puerto Rico and other areas impacted by Hurricanes Ian and Fiona, with $1 million in donations announced today. The donations include $500,000 each to the Florida Disaster Fund and the American Red Cross Hurricane Fund.

The American Red Cross donation goes to help all impacted communities in the aftermath of hurricanes and will include aid to affected regions across Puerto Rico following Hurricane Fiona, which made landfall two weeks ago.

Walgreens is also continuing to work with both organizations as well as community partners to donate products and essentials such as bottled water, consumables and health and hygiene items.

“Our thoughts are with all of those who have been impacted by the devastation caused by these hurricanes, and we’re committed to doing all we can to support the communities we serve as relief efforts continue,” said Roz Brewer, CEO, Walgreens Boots Alliance.

“We’re extremely grateful to our countless team members who have been working tirelessly to ensure our patients and customers have access to the medications, products and healthcare services they need during this difficult time,” he said.

The company is also making disaster support services available to Walgreens team members who may be displaced or in need of additional support.

In the coming days, Walgreens customers will be able to make donations at checkout at any Walgreens store nationwide.

All proceeds will benefit the American Red Cross Hurricane Fund.

PRxPR has already distributed $100K+ in aid
Nonprofit organization PRxPR confimed it has been “in active dialogue” with 12 community partners to quickly complete an assessment of which communities truly need support and what is needed at the priority level. In doing so, it has already granted $100,000 in aid to provide water, food, and basic needs products, Executive Director Carmen Báez said.

“The organization is supporting the community kitchens that we had donated, built or renovated in different communities during Hurricane María,” she said. “The solar systems, water systems, and industrial kitchens in which we invested in the last five years are working excellently.”

To these community kitchens it is now providing nonperishable goods, food products and local produce to prepare thousands of food rations for distribution. 

“In Manati, for example, our partners at Fundación Unidos para Servir are getting 250–300 hot meals prepared and distributed, to southern affected communities, daily. In Adjuntas, our grantee and community partner José Esteban López-Maldonado is preparing and delivering 150 hot meals every day to elders and bedded residents of their Limani community,” she said.

The nonprofit has also purchased and distributed 30 transportable 500-gallon cisterns with multiple custom made and fitted multi-taps for “efficient and swift” distribution of water among citizens.

It is also collaborating with several non-government organizations “to buy the items that have been indicated to us are most necessary [personal hygiene items, cleaning products, propane stoves and gas, etc.].  Hundreds of kits have already been distributed,” Báez said.

PRxPR will be joining Para La Naturaleza to support small farmers through a grant program.

“In addition, we expect to buy their inventories, donate seeds and tools and work closely with them until they get back on their feet. Just today we approved a grant to buy 1,000 egg producing hens for Finca Pastoreo, a small livestock farm which lost more than 4,800 hens to Fiona floods,” Báez said. “Donations are coming in vigorously.”

PRxPR has been chosen as one of the three “Best and Most Trusted Entities” to donate to Puerto Rico by the Obama Foundation, NPR, ABC News, USA Today, Esquire, Steven Colbert Late Show, and Katie Couric, Báez said.

“That has had a good impact. I am concerned, however, that the well will dry given the terrible destruction caused by Hurricane Ian in Florida this past week. In any case, we will continue to help our island as much and as long as we can,” she said.

Author Details
Author Details
Business reporter with 29 years of experience writing for weekly and daily newspapers, as well as trade publications in Puerto Rico. My list of former employers includes Caribbean Business, The San Juan Star, and the Puerto Rico Daily Sun, among others. My areas of expertise include telecommunications, technology, retail, agriculture, tourism, banking and most other segments of Puerto Rico’s economy.

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