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Mayor Sarno, Councilor Perez, NNCC Program Director Espinosa and City Officials Announce Initial Hurricane Fiona Disaster Relief Efforts for Puerto Rico

  Springfield, MA – Mayor Domenic J. Sarno, Ward 1 City Councilor Maria Perez, City Clerk Gladys Oyola, Chief of Staff Tom Ashe, Mayoral Aide Mini Marrero, and Rosa Espinoza, Program Director for New North Citizen Council (NNCC) announced today the city of Springfield’s initial Hurricane Fiona disaster relief efforts and initiatives for Puerto Rico.

In the first phase of Hurricane Fiona disaster relief efforts, New North Citizens Council will once again serve as the official welcome and relief center for citizens that may be moving to Springfield from Puerto Rico.  They served in this same capacity during the city’s disaster relief efforts during Hurricane Maria in 2017.

At this time, only monetary donations are being collected for Puerto Rico Hurricane Fiona disaster relief and assistance.  Monetary donations can be sent to New North Citizens Council, 2455 Main Street, Springfield, MA 01107 or to Freedom Credit Union, 1976 Main Street, Springfield, MA 01103.  Monetary donations can be made out to New North Citizens Council (NNCC) with attention or C/O to Fiona Hurricane Disaster Relief in the memo section.

For Phase two, officials will continue to monitor and review the situation both here in Springfield and in Puerto Rico, and will announce additional relief and assistance measures that may be needed and necessary.  This could include clothing drive donations, food donations, home, building and cleaning materials, etc.

Mayor Sarno states, “First, I want to thank City Councilor Maria Perez and NNCC Program Director Rosa Espinoza for reaching out and contacting my office to schedule a meeting so that we can go over our local preparations for a response and be ready to provide relief and assistance to those in need, if necessary.  Much as what my administration did in working with New North Citizens Council and our community partners during hurricane Maria five years ago, we have a tested and true process of providing relief and assistance for our brothers and sisters from Puerto Rico, if and when it is needed.  First, as Councilor Perez stated, we need to fully assess and review the situation in Puerto Rico before taking next steps.  I want to thank New North Citizens Council and Freedom Credit Union for once again stepping up and being ready to provide relief.  They will be accepting monetary donations, much like they did in response to hurricane Maria.  In addition, in the event of an influx of individuals and families relocating here, we are ready and prepared to help our fellow Americans in any capacity that we can.

Councilor Perez stated, “We need to first assess the situation in Puerto Rico before we can take next steps.  Once we learn more about the situation in Puerto Rico and the aftermath of hurricane Fiona, we will have a better understanding of what is needed and how many individuals and families, if any, will be looking to relocate here to the city of Springfield.  In the meantime, I want to thank Mayor Sarno and his administration for meeting with me and NNCC Program Director Rosa Espinoza.  Five years ago, while I was serving as the School Committeewoman, we worked with Mayor Sarno and his administration in developing an outreach and disaster relief efforts and initiatives for those in need in the aftermath of hurricane Maria.  As we learn more, we stand ready to provide assistance and will follow up with subsequent meetings.”

In 2017, in response to the influx of individuals and families relocating to Springfield from Puerto Rico as a result from Hurricane Maria, the Sarno Administration established a comprehensive Hurricane Maria Relief effort and initiative that included coordinating with New North Citizens Council for food and clothing donations and creating a Hurricane Maria Recovery Resource Guide that provided much needed assistance and information for those relocating to Springfield.  This resource guide provided vital and key information to help connect individuals and families with key services and emergency contact info in Puerto Rico and here in the city of Springfield.  This resource guide is currently being reviewed and updated to reflect updated information and the needs for Hurricane Fiona and will be shared and distributed to New North Citizens Council and elsewhere, including on the city of Springfield’s website.

“Five years ago, my administration responded to help our brothers and sisters of Puerto Rico during Hurricane Maria, by taking on the most of our fellow Americans in need in the state, including the most students into our Springfield Public Schools – we proudly stand prepared to do it again!” Mayor Sarno added.  “My dedicated staff will continue to work with Councilor Maria Perez, Rosa Espinoza, the team from New North Citizens Council and all of our community partners and officials to assist those in needed.”