Fundación Integro, a 501 (c) non-profit organization established in Puerto Rico in 2015, raised more than $ 120,000 for the Puerto Rico Food Bank through its “Feed Puerto Rico” campaign. The campaign surpassed its goal of $ 100,000 by 20%, managing to feed more than 12,000 families in need during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We wanted to ensure that the basic needs, such as food, were met for the thousands of Puerto Ricans who have been affected by both school and workplace closures and health risks,” said Antares Ramos Álvarez, executive director of the Integro Foundation.
The Integro Foundation launched “Feed Puerto Rico” in April, after Puerto Rico entered “lockdown” due to the pandemic. Covid-19 restrictions left more than 300,000 Puerto Ricans unemployed and nearly 300,000 children without school lunches, forcing thousands to turn to the Food Bank for food assistance.
The Puerto Rico Food Bank, part of the Feeding America network, responded to the crisis by launching its Covid-19 Emergency Program. The mission of the program is to ensure that the pandemic does not disproportionately perpetuate inequality in low-income communities, relying on the Bank’s network of community leaders to identify families in need of immediate food assistance during the pandemic.
“We face many challenges due to the closure of a large number of our food distribution partners. Thanks to organizations like Integro, we were able to feed thousands of people, ”said Denise Santos, president of the Puerto Rico Food Bank. “The Integro donation also helped local farmers sell their crops, ensuring that their products did not become food waste.” Santos concluded.
The Food Bank matched the donations 1: 1 for a total of $ 120,107 raised. The campaign managed to deliver more than 12,000 family-size boxes of fresh food to needy families. The food emergency boxes also supported local farmers at a time when many of their clients, including restaurants and hotels, are closed due to the pandemic.
“Feed Puerto Rico” is one of several efforts by Fundación Integro to provide help during the pandemic. The organization also joined a global effort that raised $ 1 million in cryptocurrency to provide personal protective equipment (PPE) to vulnerable communities. Through this campaign, Integro has donated over 200,000 KN95 masks in Puerto Rico and other Caribbean countries. 800 of those masks were donated to Food Bank employees, who have been working tirelessly as essential front-line workers against the virus.
“The role that the Food Bank has assumed during the pandemic is exemplary. It again demonstrates what we learned during Hurricane María: collaboration between non-profit entities is crucial to help those who need our help most, “concluded Ramos Álvarez