Teenager Uses Crowdfunding to Provide Solar Lamps for Hurricane Maria Victims
Since Hurricane Maria hit last fall, life without power has become standard for many Puerto Ricans. Residents of small towns and rural areas outside major metros are some of the most afflicted. Salvador Gomez Colón , a fifteen-year-old from San Juan, launched a crowdfunding initiative that has already raised more than $125,000. Salvador and his organization C+Feel=Hope have donated 1,400 portable solar lamps to 840 households throughout Puerto Rico.
As of this month, Puerto Rico’s government reports approximately 80% of residents had power restored, 96% had access to running water, and 98% had telephone and internet services. However, the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority estimates hundreds of thousands of people are still without power.
Through the crowdfunding service, Generosity by IndieGoGo, Salvador has raised awareness about the power crisis impacting many households across Puerto Rico. His C+Feel=Hope program has partnered with numerous solar lamp providers to provide donated solar lights to people who are still living without power. Some of the solar lamps can function as mobile phone chargers. Salvador and his organization’s next donation will include nearly 300 hand-powered washing machines for families living without power and in need of clean clothes.
Salvador expressed his enthusiasm in a CNN interview, but acknowledged there is still a lot of work to be done. "Every weekend that we've gone for a distribution has made me feel so good," he said. "But it's complicated. We are helping people, but there are just so many others also in need."
According to the campaign page, every $100 donation can provide a solar light, mobile phone charger, and non-electric portable washing machine to a family in need. To learn more about C+Feel=Hope visit the campaign here.
Sources: CNNMoney, Medium