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New Britain Civic Leaders Organize Aid For Puerto Rico

NEW BRITAIN — Civic leaders and community organizations have put together a campaign to send aid to Puerto Rico, but without the administrative overhead that typically saps a share of charitable donations.

In a city where roughly 30 percent of the population is of Puerto Rican heritage, Hurricane Maria’s devastation of the island is especially alarming.

So in response, a series of organizations and leaders have organized a special campaign to help the hurricane victims. “Our hearts ache for those in Puerto Rico as well as their families and friends right here in and around New Britain,” David Obedzinski, president of the Community Foundation of Greater New Britain, said in a statement this week. “This partnership is our opportunity to respond and help those in need as quickly as we can.”

The Community Foundation of Greater New Britain and the American Savings Foundation created the Hurricane Maria Puerto Rico Relief Fund. The effort is bipartisan; state Rep. Bobby Sanchez, D-New Britain, and Republican Mayor Erin Stewart are leading it jointly.

The goal is to offer a charitable hub where central Connecticut residents can provide donations. The American Savings Foundation and the Community Foundation are promising to cover all administrative costs related to the fund, ensuring that 100 percent of donations go to actual hurricane relief.

Representatives from city government, the HRA of New Britain, the American Savings Foundation and Community Foundation of Greater New Britain will help decide which agencies receive aid. The plan is to help long-term efforts toward rebuilding, organizers said.

Prospective donors can learn more at at the hurricane relief link at cfgnb.org.

At the same time, the school system has begun a fundraising effort to aid Puerto Rico as well as Hurricane Harvey victims in Texas, Hurricane Irma victims in Florida and survivors of the earthquake in Mexico.

“We all know that when tragedy hits, being able to do something helps us focus our energy on the positive impact we can have and not the negative at hand. It is a way to help our students and staff through this difficult time,” Superintendent Nancy Sarra said in a statement.

Students, families and staff can give monetary donations at their schools before Oct. 9. Sarra said the school system will work with local relief organizations as well as the city’s legislative delegation to determine where to direct the money.

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