Things That Matter

Puerto Ricans Are Receiving Emergency Food Packages That Are Using Candy For Fruit

It has been almost two months since Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico and inhabitants were forced to deal with its laundry list of impacts. After months of dealing with red-tape and neglect, Puerto Rican residents are now dealing with what many on social media are criticizing as inadequate food aid. All of which, many are claiming, is coming to them from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in the form of Cheez-Its, Snickers bars, and canned sausages.

Here’s what the food packages look like as well as FEMA’s response to the complaints.

According to images of the boxes that the food rations were delivered in, the foods provided “fit” certain specifications.

One image from a family member of a survivor revealed a box that suggested that the canned meat equated to an entrée. The packs of Cheez-Its served as starch, the Air Heads candies met fruit requirements, and the Baby Ruth candy bars were dessert. The snack packs are being distributed on the island to people who have been waiting for government-issued food to help in their own recovery.

People in Puerto Rico have been sharing images of the food packages that they’ve been receiving from the government agency, FEMA.

mitú reached out to FEMA for information about the snack packs. The agency explained that it was not involved in the orders or purchases of the snack packs sent to aid the island’s recovery. Rather, the agency said that the food packages are coming from a variety of local agencies, which include the Defense Logistics Agency. FEMA’s only involvement with the snack packs is in their distribution. Ron Roth, a spokesperson from the agency, also spoke to mitú and said that in addition to delivering the snack packs, the agency is also involved in delivering ready-to-eat meals to residents on the island.

Roth further explained the way in which the emergency response agency works with contracted companies to provide food packages in case of emergencies.

“While a list of contracts for supplying meals is not currently available, FEMA’s contracting process identifies companies capable of providing several approaches to appropriately feeding disaster survivors,” said Roth. “One of these approaches in Puerto Rico has used ‘snack packs’ previously ordered and stockpiled by the Defense Logistics Agency. These snacks are not meant to replace full meals.”

In addition to local agencies, these companies also include nongovernmental organizations and private contractors who work to organize and send food to victims of natural disasters quickly.

Roth said that FEMA is aware of the social media backlash and that FEMA is working to validate the claims of only receiving snack packs.

These snack packs have made their way to the Puerto Rican people since October through the Defense Logistics system, according to Roth. The spokesperson further explained that FEMA contracts vendors that can provide full meals for disaster victims. “FEMA is committed to providing stable and nutritious meals to the citizens of Puerto Rico,” Roth said. “Early on in the disaster 18 school locations were set up to provide morning and noon meals seven days a week. This is in addition to the ongoing wide range of meals already being provided to survivors by the government of Puerto Rico, FEMA and the numerous volunteer agencies feeding Puerto Ricans across the island.”

Along with ensuring these snack packs are delivered to victims, Roth made clear that FEMA includes works to ensure food rations meet customary requirements. “FEMA’s general contract language calls for full meals to provide foods composed of starches, vegetables, and protein,” Roth said. “They should have over 700 calories and be culturally appropriate for Puerto Rico with proper utensils.”

According to Roth, the crisis in Puerto Rico has posed the “largest emergency food and water distribution effort” in FEMA history.

“Requests for meal deliveries are declining as supermarkets and other parts of the private sector continue to reopen, providing survivors additional ways to feed their families,” Roth said. “More work still needs to be done, however, and all these efforts together will continue the progress we’ve made.”

If you or a loved one has only received snack packs and not full meals, FEMA’s representative recommends contacting local officials or contacting FEMA so that they can address the issue. The number for disaster victims to contact FEMA is 1-800-621-3362.


READ: 5 Creative Ways The People Of Puerto Rico Are Persevering

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ABC’s ‘Baker And The Beauty’ Fires Up A Romance Inside A Cuban Bakery

Entertainment

ABC’s ‘Baker And The Beauty’ Fires Up A Romance Inside A Cuban Bakery

bakerandthebeauty / Instagram

Latinos are getting the romantic comedy series we didn’t know we were salivating for in ABC’s “Baker and the Beauty,” which tells the tale of a Cuban baker falling for one of his customers. The customer just happens to be an “international superstar and fashion mogul.” Dominican-American actor Victor Rasuk will star alongside Peruvian-Argentine actress Nathalie Kelley as Daniel Garcia and Noa Hollander, respectively. Daniel works at his father’s Cuban bakery, entrenched in the wonders and frustrations of being part of a family business. During a life-changing moment at a restaurant, Noa takes pity on Daniel and invites him to go out on the town with her. The family business booms as Miami crowds learn of their romance and the two fall in love over the enticing smell of Cuban bread baking, and guava and cream cheese tenderly wrapped by Daniel’s expert baking hands. “He’s the baker and she’s the beauty,” Daniel’s cousin jokingly sings in the trailer.

Mix Cuban bread with a Latino-centered rom-com and you’ve got all the hype that the new trailer is officially buzzing.

The entire story is based off what can only be called an Israeli novela.

CREDIT: @BAKERBEAUTYABC / TWITTER

The show of the same name is one of the best-loved scripted series ever to air in Israel. Now available on Netflix Israel and Amazon Prime Video, the original follows the same plot of different cultural backgrounds: a working-class Yemenite baker and Ashkenazi supermodel fall in love as a means to touch on social divisions with more humor.

The Latino version will be set in Miami, Florida and follows the life of Daniel Garcia (Rasuk) who has done everything he’s supposed to do. He’s followed through on the family business and looks up to his parents’ romance as life goals. “They make each other better,” Daniel tells his new love interest in the trailer as we see the two dancing down the hallways of their home.

Then, one night, Daniel’s girlfriend proposes.

CREDIT: @BAKERBEAUTYABC / TWITTER

His whole family had been warning him that she’s going to want to get married soon. When they find out what restaurant they’re going to that night, they start cackling. “For that, you can spend a weekend in the Bahamas,” a primo warns. The family has made it clear: “a girl like that” is going to just want more and more. It’s clear that Daniel isn’t interested in taking their relationship to the next level and sputters when, at dinner, she calls the attention of the entire restaurant to propose.

Needless to say, she’s pissed when he publicly rejects her, ending their relationship.

CREDIT: @BAKERBEAUTYABC / TWITTER

Viewers, we get the twisted pleasure of watching Rasuk get splattered with what is likely an $87 bowl of soup in the trailer. However, since the restaurant his now-ex has chosen is filled with all the rich and the famous, the entire novela breakup is filmed on stars’ smartphones. One of those stars is the stunning Noa Hollander, played by Nathalie Kelley.

Kelley has said that the most powerful part of playing her character is that “while she’s this renowned beauty” she also feels “not good enough.” Kelley grew up as one of the few Latinas in a suburban Australian neighborhood and was teased constantly. “The more acceptance and love for ourselves that women can cultivate within themselves and then share with other women, the better for society as a whole,” Kelley told Variety reporter Danielle Turchiano.

The supermodel invites a pitiful man with soup all over his shirt to join her on a wild night on the town.

CREDIT: @BAKERBEAUTYABC / TWITTER

What started as a night that ended a serious relationship has become the beginning of a wild love affair. Like a bien portado Cuban son, Daniel is live reporting back to his family on the happenings of his evening. “Que caca me dices,” his mom incredulously asks until social media starts blasting photos of Daniel and Noa spending the evening together. From there, their business takes off as Miamians hope to bump into Noa at the panadería.

ABC Family is giving us another Spanglish rom-com that is as over-the-top as we deserve with familia at the center.

CREDIT: @BAKERBEAUTYABC / TWITTER

All I know is that I’d hate to be Daniel’s ex right about now. Carlos Gomez, Lisa Vidal, Dan Bucatinsky, Michelle Veintimilla, and David Del Rio are also cast members in ABC’s highly anticipated Israeli plotline turned novela.

You can watch the full trailer for “Baker and the Beauty” below!

The series is set to premiere on April 6 on ABC Family.

A Girl In Puerto Rico Died From An Illness Because The Only Hospital In Her Area Was Destroyed During Hurricane Maria

Things That Matter

A Girl In Puerto Rico Died From An Illness Because The Only Hospital In Her Area Was Destroyed During Hurricane Maria

@ValericaCollazo / Twitter

There is sad news out of Vieques, Puerto Rico where a young teenage girl has passed away after suffering flu-like symptoms. Jaideliz Moreno Ventura, 13, died on Sunday after her condition worsened she began convulsing. Now, her family is pointing the blame on the island’s inadequate medical facilities. 

Vieques, a Caribbean island off of Puerto Rico’s eastern coast, hasn’t had a working hospital in over two years. That’s because its old primary hospital, Family Health Center Susana Centeno, was closed due to damage from Hurricane Maria, which hit the island more than two years ago.

What started out as just flu-like symptoms turned into a tragedy within the span of three days. 

It all started last Friday when Jaideliz told family members that she was experiencing flu-like symptoms. According to local media, her uncle, Carlos “Prieto” Ventura, said that she had “a fever, a sore throat, and a headache.” She was then taken to a hospital in Puerto Rico for a checkup and to be tested for influenza. While the results of the test came back negative and she returned back home to Vieques, things got worse over the weekend. 

By Sunday, Jaideliz’s symptoms only got worse as she began to have spasms and severe head pain. After the family took notice of her increasingly worse conditions, she was taken to the only health facility on the island, the Center for Diagnostics and Treatment, which was due to Hurricane Maria destroying its old hospital. According to NBC News, the clinic lacked proper medical equipment to help Jaideliz. Her cousin, José Ventura, told the news outlet that the facility didn’t have a working mechanical ventilator for oxygen, only an older manual air pump. 

By 11:30 a.m. local time Jaideliz was pronounced dead as she was being transported to Puerto Rico on an air ambulance. 

For those living on Vieques, receiving medical attention isn’t easy. Many have to take a boat to receive medical attention in Puerto Rico where trip times vary from 30 minutes to multiple hours. 

There is growing anger and blame about the teen’s death with many people pointing blame at the inadequate assistance that Puerto Rico and nearby islands have received since Hurricane Maria hit in 2017. The situation in Vieques is a perfect example of that as residents lack nearby health services and aid. 

“If we had more resources, she would be with us right now,” her cousin told NBC News. “They have forgotten about us.”

Puerto Rico’s Health Secretary, Rafael Rodríguez Mercado, says that he has ordered an immediate investigation into the death of Jaideliz and which circumstances could have caused this tragedy. Back in December, Democratic lawmakers requested an investigation into why FEMA hadn’t done anything to help rebuild Vieques’ only hospital. But lawmakers alerted FEMA about this issue in May but there was never any response. 

“In Puerto Rico, we talk a lot about how we are treated as second class citizens, but the people of Vieques and Culebra [another island off the coast of Puerto Rico] are being treated as third-class citizens,” Edgardo Román Espada, president of Puerto Rico’s Bar Association, told NBC News last May. 

Jaideliz’s family is using this tragedy as a wakeup call for health officials to do something about the deteriorating situation on the island. They are hoping for more medical supplies and equipment so this situation doesn’t happen again.

On Wednesday, a vigil was held in the girl’s honor as her family called for help. They say that they “don’t want Jai’s death to be in vain” and made the plea for more medical assistance. Her mother says the island needs to “have a dignified hospital, with medical equipment and supplies —so that no other mother will have to go through what I am dealing with now.” 

“Up to a point, the people feel abandoned, that politicians come and go, and there are no bonds of affection and our feelings are obvious. We live this problem and that is why our pain here. All this adds more regret and anguish to our people,” her uncle told local media. “This is what you live every moment on our island. We need more sensitivity. ”

This tragedy followed what has already been a tough start of the year for Puerto Rico as a 6.4 magnitude quake shook the island back on Jan.7, killing at least one person, destroying homes and leaving most utility customers in the dark. There has been an estimated $110 million in damages caused by the quake. 

READ: This Photographer Took Hundreds of Stunning Photos of the Most Endangered Indigenous Tribes Across the World