The Nutrition Assistance Program will run out of funds next month without federal intervention.
About 1.4 million people in Puerto Rico depend on the Nutrition Assistance Program (NAP) to supplement their ability to buy food for their families. The program is set to run out of money next month.
From ensuring backup energy sources to introducing a telemedicine program, Direct Relief anchors Puerto Rico's resurgence in good health.
Originally Published by AbbVie.
For a Local Doctor, Home is Where The Heart Is
It was summer 2017, and Dr. Yania López Álvarez had just returned to Puerto Rico. A new doctor eager to bring her knowledge back to the island, the 35-year-old radiologist turned down more lucrative job offers on the mainland for the chance to practice at home close to her family.
But a few months later, Hurricane Irma slammed into Puerto Rico. Hurricane Maria came just weeks after, pummeling the island, destroying homes and causing widespread power outages that lasted for months. The official death toll stands at 2,975 people.
A lack of electricity, running water and jobs prompted many to leave the island. An estimated 135,000 people left Puerto Rico in the six months following Maria, according to a report by the Center for Puerto Rican Studies.
Dr. López chose to stay.
But Trump thinks his actions in Puerto Rico were a success.
"If he thinks the death of 3,000 people is a success, God help us all," said Carmen Yulín Cruz, the mayor of San Juan.
President Trump actually boasted on Tuesday about the shortcomings that killed 3,000 Puerto Ricans during, and after, Hurricane Maria last September.
He said that while the response to hurricanes in Texas and Florida got excellent grades, "I think that Puerto Rico was an incredible, unsung success."
Puerto Rican officials say that the island is fully restored and la gente are speaking out.
The government may still be underestimating the death toll.
Deadbeat Officer Resigns After Failing to Protect and Serve a Woman Being Terrorized by Drunk Racist at an Illinois Park
Officer Patrick O'Connor's resignation was the highlight of this story.
A Chicago-area cop resigned amid allegations and video footage of him turning a blind eye to a Puerto Rican woman being harassed and accosted by drunk, racist Timothy Trybus.
Southern Company celebrates National Lineman Appreciation Day on April 18.
Don Brown, a 31-year lineworker for Gulf Power (a division of Southern Company No. 44 on the DiversityInc Top 50 list), has served on many storm restoration trips over the years, but he knew that the recent trip to assist Puerto Rico with power restoration was going to be different from the first day he arrived on the hurricane-ravaged island.
Since October, Southern Company has been steadily involved in restoration efforts.
Gulf Power is sending another storm team to Puerto Rico to help restore electricity and rebuild the country's electrical infrastructure, six months after back-to-back hurricanes left most of the island in the dark and destroyed a majority of the energy grid.
The 10-member team, comprised of eight lineworkers and two support staff from across Gulf Power's service area, will replace a team that recently returned from more than 60 days on the island. This is the second team the energy company has sent since December, who typically spend 30-60 days helping restore power and a sense of normalcy to the people of Puerto Rico.
The team is scheduled to be in Puerto Rico for the next 30 days and will help rebuild the remaining part of the energy grid. While many of the members have been deployed restoring power after crippling snowstorms, thunderstorms and hurricanes, this will be a test of their skills and the ability to adapt to the conditions.
“While we're used to working in hot weather and humidity during the summer months here at home, the temperatures have been a lot cooler, so we will have to adjust our work schedules and habits," said Josh Rogers, who will lead the team and is the District Engineering supervisor in Panama City. “Along with the weather, the terrain is another safety concern. We're not used to mountainous terrain and the narrow roadways we'll encounter across the island. We just have to remember that along with restoring power, safety is our top priority."
The team from Gulf Power will join forces with other Southern Company crews and a workforce of nearly 3,700 restoration workers and support personnel, including industry mutual assistance crews, and will focus on restoring service to approximately 145,000 customers on the island.
Once they arrive, the team will be assigned to the Barranquitas District of the Caguas Region in the center of the island where the crews will be faced with mountainous conditions. The first Gulf Power team was assigned to the western region of Mayaguez, the same region that has been assigned to the Southern Company incident management team that arrived in December and where Southern Company's subsidiary, PowerSecure, continues to work.
With nearly 99 percent of customers in the Western region restored, this crew will move into areas where it's more difficult to gain access to the power infrastructure.
“Our main focus will be to get down there safely, work safely to rebuild the remaining infrastructure that is damaged in some of the hardest-to-reach areas, and get the team back home safely," said Rogers.
The restoration of the energy grid and getting power to residents is nearly complete. Just last week, the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority announced that power had been restored to more than 90 percent of all customers across the island who were impacted by Hurricanes Irma and Maria. According to PREPA, 35 of the island's 78 municipalities are 95 percent or more energized, while six municipalities have been restored completely.
While Gulf Power will send team members to help finish the remaining restoration, the Pensacola-based energy company has also played a vital role in power restoration not only at home in Florida after Hurricanes Hermine, Matthew and Irma, but also assisting other crews after storms hit in Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Texas and New York, deploying nearly 40 times since 2008.
This isn't the first time many of this team's members have been deployed on storm restoration duty. Rogers, along with many of the other team members, have helped other Southern Company sister energy companies and municipalities across the Southeast during their time of need in restoring power.
But for Rogers, he knows it's important to help those who have been without the basic necessities of modern life, such as the ability to flip a switch and have the lights come on or turn the dial on the thermostat and get cool air from the air conditioner.
And he has his family's support.
“I have the best wife anyone could ask for," said Rogers. “She's the reason I can deploy so far away for so long. My daughters understand that dad is going to help turn the lights back on for people that have been without power since before Halloween."
PREPA enlisted the Mutual Assistance Network for aid in accelerating power restoration efforts following Hurricanes Maria and Irma. Edison Electric Institute manages the Mutual Assistance Network, whereby EEI member companies, including Southern Company, may receive and provide assistance in the form of personnel and equipment to aid in restoring power.
Since October, Southern Company has been steadily involved in restoration efforts, including damage assessment; clearing debris; resetting poles; mobilizing equipment; providing temporary emergency power; ensuring adequate generation at power plants; and reinstalling and repairing transmission and distribution lines.
Carlos Correa and Carlos Beltrán did not join the team to meet with President Trump.
Major League Baseball's Houston Astros visited President Trump at the White House on Monday to celebrate the 2017 World Series victory, but All-Star shortstop Carlos Correa didn't join them.
Southern Company has deployed additional personnel and equipment from each of its four electric operating companies.
Southern Company (No. 44 on the DiversityInc Top 50 Companies list) has announced that lineworkers and support staff from each of Southern Company's four electric operating companies – Alabama Power, Georgia Power, Gulf Power and Mississippi Power – will be deployed to Puerto Rico. Personnel arrived in Puerto Rico Jan. 20, to help restore power safely and as quickly as possible to areas impacted by Hurricane Maria as part of an industry mutual assistance effort coordinated through the Edison Electric Institute.
The company ensured that all 1,300 associates were paid in cash immediately after the storm and have continued paying associates unable to travel to work.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Maria's widespread destruction in September 2017, the company's top priority was to assist Puerto Rico associates in need.
JCPenney (a DiversityInc Noteworthy Company) worked to confirm the well-being of all employees, and quickly delivered containers of much-needed supplies for associates, including water and non-perishable food items, personal hygiene and cleaning products, batteries, generators and more. The company also ensured all 1,300 associates were paid in cash immediately following the storm, and have continued paying associates who are unable to travel to work.
Status of Stores
After ensuring associates' immediate needs were met, the company began assessing damage at all stores across the island. In the months since the storm, JCPenney has re-opened four of its seven stores in Puerto Rico, including our Caguas, Mayagüez, Ponce and San Juan locations. Two additional stores will re-open later this year, with Hatillo slated to open this spring and Carolina planned to open late summer.
After much consideration, JCPenney has chosen not to rebuild its store in Humacao. Taking actions that directly impact its valued associates and loyal customers is difficult, but the company will go to great lengths to assist associates in identifying job opportunities at other JCPenney stores – whether they are in Puerto Rico or have already relocated to the mainland. A large majority of Humacao associates have been commuting to work at other JCPenney stores, and will have the opportunity to permanently transfer to those locations.
Those who are unable to stay with the company will have the opportunity to be paid and receive benefits for an additional 60 days. Plus, the company is also offering relocation assistance to impacted Puerto Rico associates who choose to transfer to a mainland JCPenney store location.
JCPenney teamed up with the Ricky Martin Foundation to provide $20,000 in assistance to the resilient people and town of Loíza, Puerto Rico – a community devastated by Hurricanes Irma and María. The company's San Juan location hosted an exciting shopping event for 20 Loíza families identified by the Foundation. Each family was transported to the store on Jan. 19 to receive a $500 JCPenney gift card to use toward the purchase of clothes, shoes, home items or other merchandise. The Ricky Martin Foundation also directed $10,000 of the JCPenney contributions to the Loiza community to help in rebuilding the municipality.
The company continued its support of Puerto Rico by hosting a holiday relief station at the 2017 Nickelodeon HALO Awards, where attendees were able to pack boxes of relief supplies, benefitting the Y kids and families in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The boxes included water, batteries, flashlights, backpacks, kids' pajamas and socks and underwear, along with comfort items such as teddy bears and activity pads.