Gándara Center’s growing emergency help drive for earthquake victims in Puerto Rico has expanded into eastern Massachusetts. Responding to the recent 6.4-magnitude earthquake and its aftershocks in Puerto Rico, the agency had launched a water and basic necessities drive for the beleaguered island on January 13. Now Phase 2 of this initiative has been organized in the eastern part of the state.

The agency, which provides culturally sensitive mental health, substance use, and prevention services to a diverse multicultural clientele, has strong ties to Puerto Rico. Many employees, as well as clients, are from there, and they have family members living on the island.

As is the case in western Massachusetts, several of the eastern Massachusetts communities that Gándara Center serves have large Puerto Rican populations who want to help. The agency was founded in Springfield in 1977 but over the years has grown to more than 40 locations across the state, including Boston, Brockton, Plymouth, Hyannis, New Bedford, and Fitchburg.

“We’ve had a tremendous response to this drive in western Massachusetts, and there are many people in eastern Massachusetts who want to assist us in this statewide initiative,” said Jade Rivera-McFarlin, marketing and development director at Gándara Center. “They want to help the people suffering from this disaster.”

The earthquake on January 7 killed at least one person, injured at least nine others, collapsed buildings, and has 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.

Even the smallest donation will make an immediate impact! The wish list items are:

  • bottled/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
  • deodorant
  • Ensure and Pedialyte
  • non-perishable food

The drop-off locations are Gándara Center offices at:

  • 140 McClellan Highway, East Boston
  • 142 Crescent St., 2nd Floor, Brockton
  • 376 Nash Rd., New Bedford
  • 100 Franklin Rd., Fitchburg
  • 147 Norman Street, West Springfield
  • 80 Commercial Street, Holyoke

Only new items are requested, please. Monetary donations will also be accepted. Please make checks payable to Gándara Center, Memo: 2020 Help for P.R. The donations will be collected until January 31.

Donate online here. Select: “Apply my donation to: 2020 Aid for Puerto Rico Earthquake Victims.”

Gándara Center appreciates your kindness and generosity in this dire situation.

This isn’t the first time Gándara Center has responded to a humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico. 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.