How to help Puerto Rico and the Caribbean

As the military and FEMA get to work on the ground, many of you are asking us how you can help from here.

WASHINGTON (WUSA9) - As the military and FEMA get to work on the ground, many of you are asking us how you can help from here.

We know there are several organizations collecting cash donations from the Humane Society, Humane Society of Puerto Rico, to the American Red Cross, UNICEF, and United For Puerto Rico. In Spanish, it's called, Unidos por Puerto Rico, which is the Puerto Rican government’s fundraiser site.

There’s also a lot of DC-area donation events like the Thursday donation-fundraiser event held in Vienna, VA. For some of the volunteers, it’s still an emotional time.

RELATED: Local group fighting to get goods to Puerto Rico

Melissa Mercado started to break down in tears talking about what it’s like to see the devastation online.

“It's hard,” said Mercado. Carmen Carreño gave Mercado a big hug and said, “It's okay we're helping out!”

Carreño tells WUSA 9 she works in Human Resources for a company called Windows Catering, which donated a truck to carry the donations. She also said she just started a non-profit that’s collecting goods for Puerto Rico in addition to fundraising for the earthquake victims in Mexico.

"Be careful. Wherever you go, just make sure you ask the proper questions that you know exactly where they're donating,” said Carreño.

RELATED: ‘A point of desperation' | Md. woman fears for family, friends in Puerto Rico

We’re told the goods collected Thursday at the Vienna event are also going to the Chantilly site WUSA 9 already reported on.

At the Chantilly collection site, they have boxes-and-boxes, along with pallets-and-pallets worth of donations collected and ready to go. They just need someone to donate the transportation.

This group is calling themselves, Unidos por Puerto Rico DMV. It's a collection of the grassroots efforts that started in our area on Facebook. They've now united as a 'DC chapter' to Puerto Rico's ‘Unidos por Puerto Rico’ initiative.

They're considering becoming a non-profit.

There are also churches collecting.

RELATED: 10 DC police officers head to Puerto Rico in a mission of the heart

At one point, the Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration told WUSA 9 the best donation anyone could give would be to call their Congress member for Caribbean relief.

Mercado said whatever you decide, “This right here, at least they know that we're doing something for them."

Celebs are lending some star power, too. Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony created a group to raise cash called, Somos Una Voz, which is fundraising for some of the major organizations already mentioned.

DC’s Chef Jose Andres has also been pitching in, helping food truck owners on the island and feeding hurricane victims fresh-cooked meals!

© 2017 WUSA-TV


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