HCN News & Notes

Gándara Center Organizes Emergency Help Drive for Puerto Rico

WEST SPRINGFIELD — Responding to the recent 6.4-magnitude earthquake and its aftershocks in Puerto Rico, Gándara Center has launched a water and basic-necessities drive for the beleaguered island.

The earthquake on Jan. 7 killed at least one person, injured at least nine others, collapsed buildings, and caused a power outage that has left thousands in Puerto Rico without electricity or drinking water.

With the recovery from Hurricane Maria in 2017 still ongoing, relief efforts have taken on even greater importance. Residents are in dire need of clean drinking water. Personal-hygiene items are also needed, as well as other necessities. The wish-list items include bottled and boxed water, first-aid kits, shampoo and conditioner, toothpaste and toothbrushes, dental floss, baby wipes, hand sanitizer, soap, feminine supplies, flashlights and batteries, solar-powered lights, diapers, and deodorant.

The drop-off locations are Gándara Center offices at 147 Norman St., West Springfield, and 80 Commercial St., Holyoke.

Only new items are requested. Monetary donations will also be accepted. Make checks payable to Gándara Center, with the memo “2020 Help for P.R.” The donations will be collected until Wednesday, Jan. 22. Gándara Center appreciates the public’s kindness and generosity in this dire situation.

Gándara Center, which has championed the underserved since 1977, has strong ties to Puerto Rico. Many employees, as well as clients, hail from there, and they have family members living on the island. In 2017, after the agency mobilized to help refugees from Hurricane Maria, its Springfield Family Resource Center was given a governor’s citation in recognition of the work it did for families displaced by the storm.