Proviso Township Residents Provide Puerto Rico Aid In Diverse Ways

Sunday, October 29, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews 

Featured image: Students at Roosevelt Middle School in Bellwood who helped raise nearly $1,900 for victims of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria. | Courtesy Roosevelt Middle School 

Community members from across Proviso Township are chipping in to help out the many victims of recent natural disasters, particularly Hurricane Maria, which battered the Caribbean island of Puerto Rico on Sept. 20, leaving nearly 900,000 people without power.

Maywood resident Gina Ruffin, a longtime United Airlines flight attendant, saw the destruction with her own eyes as the plane carrying Congressman Luis Gutierrez (4th) descended on the island. The Illinois congressman has made multiple trips to the island since the hurricane.

Cellphone video of Puerto Rico shot by United Airlines flight attendant Gina Ruffin, who lives in Maywood. | YouTube 

Ruffin said she’s provided relief in her own way, bringing along batteries and food to give to families in need. The island residents, she said, had been without electricity for some time when she visited last month.


Ruffin, third from right, with Congressman Gutierrez and others on a flight to Puerto Rico last month. | Courtesy Gina Ruffin 

From afar, some students at Roosevelt Middle School in Bellwood got creative in their attempts to raise funds for victims of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria.

The school devised what they called “Dollars for Dress Code,” which allowed students to bring a dollar in order to be out of the district’s dress code for a day between Oct. 2 and Oct. 6.

“Students would be required to donate a minimum of $1 each day to be out of dress code (within reason) but they can donate more if they choose,” according to a letter sent to parents and guardians by Principal Paul Glover and classroom teacher Kelly McElligot.

McElligot said that the students raised nearly $1,900, which they sent to Americares, a nonprofit disaster relief and global health organization.

“The reason we chose to donate money to the organization Americares is because we researched them and found out they are a more reliable organization than other widely known organizations,” the letter read.


A poster at Roosevelt Middle School promoting “Dollars for Dress Code” fundraiser. | Courtesy Roosevelt Middle School 

Members of the Maywood-Proviso Rotary Club have also gotten in on the action. The club is partnering with a church in Chicago to collect goods that will be shipped off to the island, said Maywood Trustee Isiah Brandon, who is spearheading the effort.

“There is a real situation there and they are in dire need of help,” said Brandon during a Rotary silent auction in Hillside on Oct. 28. Brandon said at the time that the club will set a date in the next several for when the collection drive will be held.

“This is what the Rotary Club is all about,” Brandon said. “We look forward to getting in the mix and helping those impacted by the hurricane.”

For more information on how to help out the the victims of Hurricane Maria, click here and here

Puerto Rico’s State Agency for Emergency Management and Disaster Management has released a map of the country’s territorial organization, along with phone numbers that those people interested in assisting can call. VFP


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