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FRAMINGHAM, MA — The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) today will begin loading pallets of donated goods onto trucks to be transported to Florida, and later shipped to Puerto Rico to support hurricane relief efforts. In total, 229 pallets of canned goods and non-perishable foods, bottled water, baby formula and diapers, flashlights, batteries and personal hygiene products will be shipped to Puerto Rico and distributed to disaster survivors. An additional 35 pallets of goods will be distributed to food banks in Massachusetts that are supporting evacuees from Puerto Rico.
“Massachusetts is proud to send donated goods to Puerto Rico as another form of support for hurricane relief efforts,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “The Commonwealth continues to provide personnel and resources to assist those recovering from devastating hurricanes in Puerto Rico, and disasters across the nation.”
“Community and faith-based organizations across the state collected these donated goods to help the hurricane survivors in Puerto Rico,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “We continue to take steps to help those impacted by recent natural disasters and urge everyone who wants to help support disaster relief operations do so through cash donations to organizations listed on the state’s website.”
The 264 pallets of goods were donated at community events in Framingham, Holyoke, Lawrence, Southbridge, and Springfield. The goods were collected by the Massachusetts National Guard and delivered to a MEMA-operated warehouse in Worcester which has been generously donated for use by Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI). At the warehouse, the donated goods were sorted and packaged for transport by MEMA employees, volunteers, and a donations management team from Adventist Community Services.
Today, the first two trucks, which are being provided at no cost to the Commonwealth by Teamsters Local 25, will load donated goods and depart for Florida. Trucks from a transportation company will transport additional pallets of donated goods from the warehouse in Worcester to a FEMA facility in Florida starting today and throughout the week. Once in Florida, the donated goods will be shipped to Puerto Rico via cargo ship. No additional donations are being collected for shipment as part of this operation.
“This operation would not have happened without the generosity, donations, and efforts of many organizations and companies who helped collect, transport, organize, and warehouse these donated goods,” said Secretary of Public Safety Dan Bennett. “I thank the Teamsters Local 25, WPI, UMASS Medical School, Adventist Community Services, Boston Cares, and many others who donated time, space, personnel and supplies that were instrumental in this effort.”
“Teamsters Local 25 will continue its commitment to help the strong and resilient people of Puerto Rico who are enduring heartbreaking challenges this holiday season,” said Teamsters Local 25 President Sean M. O’Brien. “We are proud to support Governor Baker and the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency by transporting these relief supplies donated by so many caring people from across this great Commonwealth. This is truly a delivery from the heart.”
“MEMA is proud to support hurricane relief efforts by moving these donated goods to hurricane survivors in Puerto Rico,” said MEMA Director Kurt Schwartz. “In addition to the transportation of these donated goods, the Baker-Polito administration has deployed response and recovery personnel to Puerto Rico and is helping support thousands of self-evacuees from Puerto Rico who have sought residence in the Commonwealth.”
In addition to the warehouse space donated by WPI, a forklift and operator were donated by the UMASS Medical School, a volunteer donations management team from Adventist Community Services oversaw the packing of the goods, and volunteers were provided by Boston Cares. Additional support and supplies were donated by Worcester Emergency Management, MassDOT, Gentle Giant, Staples, Creedon & Company, Inc., United Parcel Service, E.L. Harvey & Sons, Inc., The Home Depot, Sitterly Movers, MSC Industrial Supply Company, Dunkin’ Donuts, Shaws, and Walmart. MEMA thanks all agencies, companies, organizations, and staff assisting with this operation.
MEMA continues to look for opportunities to offer personnel, equipment and resources to Puerto Rico and other areas impacted by recent disasters.
Other Recent Disaster Response Activities:
On November 22nd, MEMA announced the deployment of a 26-person medical team from Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) to Puerto Rico to assist in providing medical care on the island. The team includes doctors, nurses, and other medical and support staff, and deployed on November 25th.
On November 9th, MEMA announced the deployment of 4 state and local employees from Massachusetts to Puerto Rico to assist in hurricane recovery efforts. Two personnel deployed to Puerto Rico through the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC), which is the national emergency management mutual aid system that facilitates state-to-state disaster assistance. Two other personnel are detailed to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to assist in the federal response to the hurricanes in Puerto Rico.
On October 25th, MEMA and the Massachusetts National Guard announced the mobilization of 15 soldiers from Massachusetts to Puerto Rico to assist in hurricane recovery efforts. The soldiers are providing public affairs support for current National Guard members operating in Puerto Rico, including processing media requests, preparing media advisories and stories, producing videos, taking and collecting photographs, and providing media escorts in the field.
On October 18th, MEMA announced the deployment of 5 state and local employees to join FEMA’s disaster response workforce. The employees, who are working under FEMA’s supervision, are helping deliver federal disaster support to survivors and communities in Florida and Puerto Rico.
On October 16th, the Baker-Polito Administration announced the deployment of a 10-person Emergency Operations Center support team to Puerto Rico for hurricane response and recovery. While deployed in Puerto Rico, the team worked with the Central Island Coordination Task Force coordinating the delivery of goods and services across the island. The team included three MEMA employees and seven members of the Northwest Massachusetts Incident Management Team (NWMIMT).
On October 4th, the Baker-Polito Administration announced the deployment of 69 local and state law enforcement officers to Puerto Rico for hurricane response and recovery. The first 24 officers arrived in Puerto Rico on October 7th, the second cadre of 24 officers arrived in Puerto Rico on October 18th, and the final group of 21 officers arrived in Puerto Rico on November 1st. While in Puerto Rico, the law enforcement officers assisted with traffic and security duties. 13 Massachusetts State Police cruisers were also sent to Puerto Rico for use by the deployed officers.
On September 10th, the Baker-Polito Administration announced the deployment to Florida of a three-person Emergency Operations Center (EOC) team comprised of employees from MEMA and the Department of Environmental Protection, and a nine-person nursing team from Beth Israel Hospital to assist with response and recovery efforts for Hurricane Irma.
Governor Baker, Mayor Martin J. Walsh, Representative Jeffrey Sánchez and members of the Boston Foundation also announced the Massachusetts United for Puerto Rico Fund to support and respond to the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico in the wake of Hurricanes Maria and Irma. The fund has been formed in partnership with the Latino Legacy fund and in cooperation with the Alliance for Puerto Rico. Funds raised will be distributed for reconstruction and relief on the island of Puerto Rico and to support self-evacuees arriving in Massachusetts from Puerto Rico for temporary or permanent residence.
The Baker-Polito Administration has developed network of public, private and non-profit sector service providers that is working around the clock to ensure that the state is supporting the thousands of Puerto Ricans who have self-evacuated the island since Hurricane Maria to seek temporary or permanent residence in Massachusetts.
Volunteers & Donations:
MEMA is the state agency charged with ensuring the state is prepared to withstand, respond to, and recover from all types of emergencies and disasters, including natural hazards, accidents, deliberate attacks, and technological and infrastructure failures. MEMA's staff of professional planners, communications specialists and operations and support personnel is committed to an all hazards approach to emergency management. By building and sustaining effective partnerships with federal, state and local government agencies, and with the private sector - individuals, families, non-profits and businesses - MEMA ensures the Commonwealth's ability to rapidly recover from large and small disasters by assessing and mitigating threats and hazards, enhancing preparedness, ensuring effective response, and strengthening our capacity to rebuild and recover. For additional information about MEMA and Emergency Preparedness, go to www.mass.gov/mema.
Continue to follow MEMA updates on Twitter at www.twitter.com/MassEMA; Facebook at www.facebook.com/MassachusettsEMA; YouTube at www.youtube.com/MassachusettsEMA.
Massachusetts Alerts: to receive emergency information on your smartphone, including severe weather alerts from the National Weather Service and emergency information from MEMA, download the free Massachusetts Alerts app. To learn more about Massachusetts Alerts, and for information on how to download the free app onto your smartphone, visit: www.mass.gov/mema/mobileapp.