For more than 30 years, our company Monsanto Caribe LLC has been part of the agricultural biotechnology industry in Puerto Rico. Our site in Juana Diaz has operated for twenty of those 30 years, so we feel very rooted and connected with the southern region of Puerto Rico.
We have all witnessed the great devastation left by Hurricane Maria, specifically in this area. For this reason, we have given ourselves the task of redoubling our efforts and commitment to our communities. I would like to share with you the work we have done there so far.
Upon receiving news of the devastation Hurricane Maria caused in Puerto Rico, four agricultural biotechnology companies, including the Monsanto Company, mobilized a team in the United States to send emergency relief supplies for southern municipalities near their sites in Puerto Rico.
We began to collaborate with the mayors of Ponce, Juana Diaz, Santa Isabel, Salinas, and Guayama, to better understand the needs in these municipalities. According to this information, we booked a cargo plane and began to procure supplies to bring here to the Island.
The cargo plane arrived in San Juan, Puerto Rico on Friday, September 29 with two (2) trailers worth of supplies. These included: cots, hygiene kits, emergency blanket and pillow packs, first aid kits, drinking water coolers, Brita® water pitchers, paper water cups, paper plates, disposable cutlery, Shop-Vac® vacuums, granola bars, purified water, diapers, hand sanitizers, baby wipes, water filter systems, water storage kits, water replacement filters, insect repellents, medicines, and medical supplies. Supplies also included 28,000 beef and chicken meals.
All the supplies were delivered from San Juan to the Los Caobos Sports Centre in Ponce, escorted by the National Guard of the United States, on Saturday, September 30. There, Monsanto employees received the shipment and divided it into five (5) proportional donations, which were picked up by officials of the above-mentioned municipalities that same day.
The companies also provided the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) space in the cargo plane to bring water and child care supplies totaling 48 pallets, or one (1) full trailer.
Similarly, both the Monsanto Company and the local operation, Monsanto Caribe, have made available to us company resources so we can focus our longstanding and ongoing community efforts to help our neighbors in Juana Diaz and Santa Isabel affected by hurricane Maria. As community leaders share their needs to us, we continue to assist and support them meet those needs, as far as we can.
At the Santi Community, one of the closest to Monsanto Caribe in Santa Isabel, the company has provided ice, potable water, and portable bathroom services, so members of the community do not have to use the limited water they have access to on this. We also cleaned and opened access to the roads that lead to and from the Santi Community. At the Manzanilla, Galicia, and Las Ollas communities, we also provided potable water via oasis trucks to as well as cleaned and opened access to the roads that lead to and from the Arus community, all of them located in Juana Diaz.
At the request of the Municipality of Juana Díaz, Monsanto Caribe contacted and is working with the Puerto Rico Aqueducts and Sewers Authority (PRASA) in an effort to help reestablish water services there. Monsanto Caribe lent three (3) power generators, free of charge, to PRASA so that they could activate the pumping stations in different wells that they have in the southern area, and use them as long as necessary.
Thanks to that, the entire southern part of Juana Diaz has potable water services without major problems, because it is energized by our generators.
We are also looking for ways to help others that want and can help those affected by Hurricane Maria. That is why, the Monsanto Company is continuing its support of disaster relief efforts in Puerto Rico through the Monsanto Fund, by donating $250,000 to Centros Sor Isolina Ferre, a social services agency which provides assistance to communities located near the company’s Monsanto Caribe site in Juana Diaz. In addition to the company’s donation, Monsanto is also encouraging employees worldwide to donate to Centros Sor Isolina Ferre. The company will match all employee contributions to the organization.
Finally, we also joined the “World Central Kitchen” initiative organized by Chefs for Puerto Rico. Through a sponsorship, we helped make possible the distribution of approximately 800 meals in the Galicia, Arus, Manzanilla and Serrano communities of Juana Diaz. A group of fellow Monsanto employees distributed these meals.
It is our interest to keep communication channels open at all times, as well as to maintain our commitment to our communities, today and always. We are more than willing to continue collaborating, working and cooperating to, once again, raise our Puerto Rico. If you know of a local 501c3 non-profit organization interested to help our neighboring communities, you can contact us at email@example.com to see how we can collaborate. Through the Monsanto Fund, Monsanto’s philanthropic arm, we can evaluate the availability of funds to continue to help emergency relief efforts, particularly in southern municipalities.
Miguel A. Pereira Rivera, Ph.D.
Puerto Rico Community Affairs Manager
Licensed Public Relations Specialist