Connecting through NCBA CLUSA, the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA)’s international arm sent four generators to the Puerto Rican Cooperative League for distribution to member co-ops in need last month as their communities continue to recover from the devastating one-two punch of Hurricanes Irma and Maria last fall.
The generators went to four Puerto Rican co-ops including a housing co-op—which includes many senior citizen members—and thee credit and savings cooperatives. Even in the wake of the hurricane’s devastation, these credit unions were the first to open back up to members providing access to cash, which was incredibly important when credit systems were down due to electricity issues.
According to the Puerto Rican Cooperative League, even 30 days after Hurricane Maria, cooperatives were the only businesses offering services in 17 towns across the island, even though there were other financial institutions. Cooperatives also became distribution centers for water, food, clothing and other essential services.
In a thank you letter to NRECA, President of the Puerto Rican Cooperative League William Ortiz Negrón called the donation an “act of solidarity.”
“The practice of solidarity and the values of cooperativism are indispensable to ensure the continuity of this movement of hope and transformation of human beings and their environment,” Negrón said.
Connecting the co-op community in times of need, America’s electric co-ops have been at the forefront of hurricane relief efforts to restore electricity across the U.S. last year.
If you’d like to support ongoing hurricane relief efforts for the co-op community, make a donation through the Cooperative Development Foundation’s Disaster Recovery Fund.