Katy, Texas (June 20, 2018)— As devastating footage of Hurricane Maria’s impact on Puerto Rico first began to emerge last fall, people and organizations around the world responded by donating any assistance they had to the rescue and recovery effort.
For Katy Memorial Pediatrics, it was a matter of realizing that many of the hurricane’s victims would need urgent medical care and that doctors on the scene were trying to treat patients under terrible conditions.
“Katy Memorial Pediatrics invested in some new exam tables, which left us with seven to find a home for and we knew we wanted to donate them to a great cause,” says Robin Nolen-Perez, KMP practice administrator. “Dr. Natasha Shah knew of an organization that shipped medical supplies to Puerto Rico, and we knew the devastation they were dealing with after Maria and thought we could help.
“Dr. Shah got in touch with Somebody Cares and set up a pick-up,” Nolen-Perez adds. “We wanted to do a little more, so we decided to send medical supplies which included bandages, syringes, gauze and medication. We knew they needed supplies for every age group, not just pediatrics.”
Hurricane Maria is regarded as the worst natural disaster on record to affect Puerto Rico, taking hundreds of lives during and immediately after hitting the island, and directly leading to thousands of additional deaths in the months following. The Puerto Rican government estimated that Maria caused at least $90 billion in damage.
With KMP having been spared the severe flood damage resulting from Hurricane Harvey — which occurred only a few weeks before Hurricane Maria’s onslaught — Nolen-Perez says the KMP staff members were all too aware of what Puerto Rico’s population was enduring. “Thank goodness we were all safe during the storm. However, we continued to see what Harvey did to us here in Katy,” Nolen-Perez adds. “When Maria hit Puerto Rico, we had an employee whose family was in the path of the storm. She was able after many days to communicate with them and determine they were safe. However, the circumstances they were living in were horrible.
“KMP knew firsthand how bad things were over there,” adds Nolen-Perez. “We feel blessed that we could help.”