Black Friday and Cyber Monday are upon us. Whether it’s fighting the mall crowds or beating people to the punch online, it’s easy to invest a lot of capital (both mentally and physically) on the shopping holiday. For one Colorado woman though, she’ll spend hours on Amazon looking for donations instead of deals.
Gigi Loubriel, a Puerto Rican native turned Colorado resident, is gather donations via the popular website in order to deliver them directly to the people impacted by Hurricane Irma and Maria. She was motivated to take this approach when she ran into several issues while trying to deliver goods to her brother and sister, both who live in Puerto Rico.
“Early efforts to distribute necessary supplies were stalled or completely halted by bureaucratic processes, so any aid vehicle I established from Colorado had to address this problem,” she said.
As a result, Loubriel set up a system that allowed her to get direct access. Currently, people can purchase donations from the Gigi’s Puerto Rico Relief Fund Amazon registry page. Then every Sunday Loubriel’s siblings and volunteers pick up the Amazon donations from a service center in Loubriel’s hometown of Caguas. The goal is to focus on areas that have not yet received aid from FEMA or the Red Cross.
“We’ve started in Caguas, Toa Baja, and as of Saturday, November 25, the town of Humacao (a town close to the beach and one of many hardest-hit),” said Loubriel.
You can find photos of previous deliveries and updates on upcoming deliveries on a Facebook page organized by Loubriel. So far $4,000 of goods and over 100 items have been sent to those in need. She is asking people send everything on the registry, but certain items have made a big difference.
“The solar light bulbs and other solar-powered supplies, in particular, have made the biggest impact. For example, one solar light bulb can power an entire home,” she said.
The next delivery takes place this Sunday, November 26. Currently, the Loubriel family has no plans of stopping.
“As long as people are in need and we can spread the word to more people willing to help, we will continue to try to make a difference for the people in Puerto Rico,” she said.