NPU employees raise $6,000 to support families of co-workers in Puerto Rico

Five employees of Norwich Public Utilities (NPU) have immediate family members in Puerto Rico whose lives have been turned upside down since Hurricane Maria hit the island on September 20, 2017.

NPU Customer Service Representatives Evannie Bocachica, Karla Ithier, Maria Medina and Keana McQueen along with Linemen Elier Alvarado all have numerous family members who are struggling with every aspect of daily life in Puerto Rico.

Each family has their own challenging stories and circumstances including:

• The inability to account for everyone in a family for several weeks

• Sick and injured relatives unable to get medical attention; the loss of a life due to the extenuating circumstances of the disaster

• Dozens of people living in a single small house

• The loss of nearly all personal property

• Very limited and inconsistent cell phone and internet service

• A lack of electricity for more than eight weeks (and counting)

While the challenges facing the people of Puerto Rico and their families seem insurmountable, the men and women of NPU wanted to provide some level of support for their friends and coworkers.

Michele Addabbo led a fundraising campaign among NPU employees that quickly raised $6,000, including $1,000 from the Association of Federal, State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME).

While the organizers of the fundraising effort considered a single contribution to one of the major relief organizations, it was determined that the best and most immediate way to help the extended NPU families was to wire the money to a contact person for each family.

After overcoming communications issues with the wire transfer process, $1,200 was sent to each family on November 8. The use of these funds by the families is completely unrestricted and to be used in whatever way is most helpful – for food, clothing, shelter, medical supplies, transportation, or anything else that will help with the rebuilding process.