Carmelo Anthony is raising money for the people of Puerto Rico. The 33-year-old NBA player launched a hurricane relief fund to help the island’s financial recovery in wake of Hurricane Maria’s catastrophic aftermath.
“I’m half Puerto Rican, and I’m proud of it. Puerto Ricans are my people. But this is about more than that. Puerto Ricans are our fellow Americans,” Anthony wrote in an essay for the Player’s Tribune published Friday (Sept. 22). “Puerto Ricans are our fellow man. They need our help.”
Anthony went on to reveal that he hasn't been able to contact loved ones in the U.S. territory. “I’ve been texting my people down there for the past 24 hours, and I get nothing back. It’s the worst feeling in the world,” he continued. “Imagine texting somebody you love and getting no response for more than a day. It’s been days of nothing, and I’m sitting here on pins and needles. I’m just hoping and praying that one person hits me back and gives me some kind of update on what’s going on — let’s me know that everything’s OK. But I know it’s not OK.”
The New York Knicks forward launched a YouCaring crowdfunding account, with a goal of $1,000,000. He also put up the first $50,000.
“Any help you can give will get directly into the hands of those who need it — you have my word," he added. "I’ve been doing community work on the island for the past 10 years, but this is another level. I’m starting with an immediate $50,000 donation, but I need your help in this fight.
“I know to a lot of people reading the news, it’s just a headline. It’s just another disaster. But man, if you’ve ever been to Puerto Rico, you already know the spirit of the people. The joy of those kids. The energy and good vibes you feel the minute you step on the island,” Anthony explained. “Right now, I literally don’t know what’s happening down there, or if my people are OK, or what the future holds. I know that it’s not gonna be easy. I’m just asking for your help.”
Hurricane Maria is the worst storm to hit Puerto Rico in 80 years, packing catastrophic winds that caused massive flooding, ruined structures, and knocked out power across the island (and it may not be restored for as many as six months). At least 13 deaths have been confirmed as a result of the storm.
On Friday, the National Weather Service issued a flash flood warning urging the more than 70,000 people living near the Guajataca Dam to evacuate as the dam is in “imminent” danger of collapsing.
See Anthony’s video plea to help P.R. below.