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

@lanenaborikua / Twitter / CBS This Morning / YouTube

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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Junot Diaz Penned A Short Story About Spider-Man That Captures What It Was Like Growing Up Poor In Dominican Republic

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Junot Diaz Penned A Short Story About Spider-Man That Captures What It Was Like Growing Up Poor In Dominican Republic

Junot Diaz/ Facebook/ Marvel

A small piece I wrote for the New Yorker about my first experience with TV back when TV was still rare on the street I grew up on in Santo Domingo. "The diasporic imagination really is its own superpower."

Posted by Junot Díaz on Monday, November 13, 2017

Junot Diaz / Facebook

Dominican writer Junot Diaz (“Drown,” “The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao,” “This is How You Lose Her”) recently published a short story in The New Yorker that may sound familiar to anyone who grew up dreaming about what life was like in the U.S. Titled “Watching Spider-Man In Santo Domingo,” Diaz tells the story of himself as a poor kid growing up in the Dominican Republic with only his imagination to play with. The MacArthur Genius Award recipient writes that he once considered “watching goats climb onto cars and houses serious entertainment.” All of this changed when a friend in his neighborhood bought the first TV he’d ever laid his eyes on. And on that TV was Spider-Man. Diaz somehow convinced himself that Spider-Man and his father, both of whom were living in the U.S. at the time, were the same person.

The realization for Diaz in the story is both full of naive child-like wonderment and melancholic hindsight.

“And here was my first television and my first cartoon and my first superhero—a hero who, like my father, was in America—and somehow it all came together for me in a lightning bolt of longing and imagination. My father’s absence made perfect sense. He couldn’t come back right away because he was busy fighting crime in N.Y.C. . . . as Spider-Man.

The diasporic imagination really is its own superpower.”

Although he finally does come to realize his dad isn’t Spider-Man, Diaz figures out his father’s true identity. Check the full short story out to get a deeper look into the life of the Diaz and open a time capsule of what life in the Dominican Republic was during his youth.

It’s probably better that Diaz found Spider-Man before the advent of the Internet, because this is what you get when you look up “Dominican” and “Spider-Man” now.

This might have changed his view of Spider-Man forever. ??


[H/T] The New Yorker

READ: After 20 Years Junot Díaz Kept His Promise To His Goddaughters And Wrote A Picture Book


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