As massive recovery efforts continue in hurricane-ravaged areas, NYSUT spearheaded a collection drive that amassed more than 2,000 pounds of hygiene products, diapers, wipes, formula, batteries, flashlights, and other essential emergency supplies for residents still struggling in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
"Millions of residents remain without power, running water and other basic necessities," said NYSUT President Andy Pallotta. "We put out the call and the response was incredible."
The much-needed supplies came from NYSUT members and staff, the Saranac Lake Teachers Association, the Civil Service Employees Association and Girls Inc. of the Greater Capital Region. Items collected were shipped to the islands as part of Gov. Cuomo's Relief and Recovery Effort.
A special dress-down event initiated by the Professional Staff Association at NYSUT raised $3,370 for NYSUT's Disaster Relief Fund. The staff union also raised nearly $5,000 for relief efforts via a basket raffle.
As of December, NYSUT's Disaster Relief Fund, fueled by donations from members across the state, had earmarked more than $50,000 to Puerto Rico, $5,000 to the American Federation of Teachers Operation Agua fund, and made donations to the American Red Cross and Americares.
Local leaders and unions have also led a variety of relief efforts. Mohonasen TA, led by NYSUT Board member Maria Pacheco, collected donations from members, students and the community to purchase 200 solar chargers. AFT President Randi Weingarten recently led a delegation, which included Evelyn DeJesus of the United Federation of Teachers and the NYSUT Board, to deliver water filters to Puerto Rico.
The need is still great. Visit www.nysut.org/disasterrelief to donate online, or make your check payable to NYSUT Disaster Relief Fund and mail to: NYSUT Headquarters, Attn. Disaster Relief, 800 Troy-Schenectady Road, Latham, NY 12110.