LuminAID and World Business Chicago Team Up to Send 1,000 Solar Lights to Puerto Rico Earthquake Survivors

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Chicago Solar Startup and World Business Chicago Send Relief Aid to Puerto Rico

On January 7th, a 6.4 magnitude earthquake struck southern Puerto Rico, and significant aftershocks have continued in the weeks and months following. To this day, hundreds of Puerto Ricans have yet to return home, either because they are unable to pay for the repairs necessary, or because they don’t trust that their houses are safe as the ground continues to tremble.

With many families living in government shelters or makeshift camps, having a reliable source of light at night can make a huge impact in terms of comfort and safety. Recognizing this need and the close connection between Chicago and Puerto Rico, World Business Chicago and LuminAID teamed up to send solar lanterns to the island.

“We’ve been hearing from our partners on the ground since January that the situation is still very difficult in Puerto Rico. The continued aftershocks are taking a psychological and emotional toll on all families in the region, and many people are still unable to return to their homes. Providing some comfort to these families in the form of light after dark is one small way they can regain normalcy in their lives,” said Daphna Gall, Director of Corporate and Nonprofit Partnerships at LuminAID.

“On behalf of World Business Chicago and our city’s business community, we are grateful to have been able to turn to Chicago-based, woman-led start up LuminAID to purchase solar powered lamps and lanterns to help those in Puerto Rico who continue to face challenges and difficulties following the recent earthquakes,” said Andrea Zopp, President & CEO, World Business Chicago.

The 1,000 LuminAID lanterns are en route to Puerto Rico and will be divided between 3 organizations who have existing operations on the island: Casa Pueblo, Verde Luz, and the Puerto Rico Science, Technology, and Research Trust. LuminAID lights can be recharged in the sun and are waterproof, making them ideal for families living in makeshift shelters. With at least 8,000 homes in need of a structural overhaul and aftershocks continuing to strike daily, it is unclear how much longer families will need to wait before returning home.

LuminAID has been working in Puerto Rico since 2017, when Hurricane Maria struck the island. Through partnerships with local nonprofits, over 50,000 LuminAID lanterns were distributed in Puerto Rico in the months following the hurricane. The company also joined other Chicago clean energy organizations for the Chicago4PR campaign and raised over $20,500 for solar lanterns and phone chargers to be sent to the island.

2020 marks LuminAID’s tenth year of sharing safe light with those in need after disasters. Designed in response to the earthquake in Haiti in 2010, LuminAID solar lanterns and phone chargers pack flat for easy distribution after a disaster strikes. Over the past 10 years, LuminAID lights have been used in humanitarian projects in over 100 countries.

About LuminAID

When we think of our most basic human needs, we often think of food, water and shelter. But when architecture graduate students Anna Stork and Andrea Sreshta were asked to design a product to assist post-earthquake relief efforts in Haiti, they considered the dangerous conditions at night in the tent cities and turned their attention to another critical need: light. They designed the LuminAID light to be easily distributed in time of need by packing and shipping flat. To date, through partnerships with NGOs and relief organizations, LuminAID has assisted thousands of families by providing access to safe light in dangerous situations. Through the Give Light, Get Light program, customers can purchase a LuminAID light for themselves and sponsor another one to help make light more accessible and sustainable for all. For more information, visit luminaid.com.

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Dahlia Leffell
LuminAID
+1 3126008997
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Andrea Sreshta
@LuminAIDLab
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