St. Louis Jesuit organization raising money for Puerto Rico relief

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ST. LOUIS - The images and stories coming out of Puerto Rico are unbelievable. There is no electricity, only half the population has potable drinking water, and trash is everywhere.

“Well, it’s probably a good thing to remind people that these are our fellow Americans and that Puerto Rico is not a standalone island,” said John Fitzpatrick, Jesuits USA Central & Southern Province.

The St. Louis-based Jesuit organization has schools in Puerto Rico and is organizing relief efforts. Fitzpatrick said people there need cash.

“They have no power; can’t store food. They need to buy things when they become available,” he said.

According to a Fr. Jorge Herrer, a Catholic priest stationed in San Juan, food is becoming scarce because Puerto Rico imports most of it and distribution has become an issue.

“The conditions are awful. Catastrophic. We still don’t know how many people have died,” he said.

Herrer said the island has no access to news. Internet and phone service is down for the most part. And that’s not the worst of it.

“One father was in line three to four hours just to fill the tank,” he said. “Most banks are out of service.”

Fitzpatrick said it will take a long time to get our fellow American citizens back on their feet and any help the St. Louis community can give is much appreciated.