Five weeks ago, Hurricane Maria swept through Puerto Rico and the Caribbean, damaging businesses, homes and municipal structures and leaving many people and business without power and in need of food, water and shelter. While some progress has been made, the devastation continues to affect residents and communities.
The Coca-Cola system has mobilized to respond to the growing crisis and support relief efforts. To date, Coke has donated hundreds of thousands of beverages, hundreds of food packages and supplies to local residents. On the ground, Coca-Cola Beverages Puerto Rico has supplied food packets and beverages to local community relief organizations. The bottler’s primary facility in Cayey is producing a variety of beverages daily, including water, and recently expanded production with the addition of another generator.
The bottling facility in Trinidad is also shipping more than 100,000 beverages weekly to local customers. Coke's Cidra production facility is donating more than 75,000 liters of purified water daily to city residents through the FEMA relief center.
“We’ve been fortunate to be able to resume operations at plant but we are among the few,” said Alberto De La Cruz, owner, Coca-Cola Beverages Puerto Rico. “As a local business that serves the local community, we are committed to doing what we can to help our employees, customers and neighbors get back to their normal lives as soon as possible.”
De La Cruz continued, “Because so many local businesses and organizations are still without power, we’ve partnered with the First Lady’s relief effort in Puerto Rico to source thousands of generators that will be donated to small businesses, bodegas, pharmacies and clinics so they can resume or extend daily operations.”
The local bottler also started the “Caracvana Coca-Cola,” a caravan of Coca-Cola trucks distributing 4,000 care packages to the hardest-hit towns in Puerto Rico, in collaboration with recording artist Tito el Bambino, local military and FEMA. The Caracvana has visited three towns and plans to visit another five in the coming weeks.
The Coca-Cola Foundation pledged $3 million in grants to relief organizations including a $1 million grant to the Salvation Army to help provide immediate resources for necessary food and shelter in areas impacted by Hurricanes Irma and Maria across the Caribbean, including Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and a $2 million grant to the American Red Cross for relief efforts across the Caribbean Islands and the southeastern U.S. following Hurricanes Irma and Harvey.