When Katya Perez-Lopez, USAmeriBank’s chief accounting officer, decided to do something to help people in her native Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria, it started an initiative that showed the difference that one person can make.
Katya moved to the states four years ago from Puerto Rico. Most of her family members still live there and are reeling from the devastation caused by the hurricane.
She was talking to a co-worker about how she felt helpless and wanted to do something to help her friends and neighbors, so they came up with the idea of putting together care packages to send to Puerto Rico. Then, a fellow board member of the Master Chorale of Tampa Bay connected her with a local Support Puerto Rico Initiative team to coordinate collecting and shipping donations.
With the backing of USAmeriBank’s senior leadership team, Katya lead a bank-wide donation drive to collect items for the care packages – everything from basic necessities like toiletries, food and baby items to activities for kids like coloring books and crossword puzzles.
Katya expected to collect enough items to fill a corner of her department’s office space, but word quickly spread throughout the bank and a Facebook post was shared multiple times. The next thing she knew, customers were dropping off donations at each of USAmeriBank’s 14 Florida branches.
Once the items were collected, Katya and a team of fellow USAB volunteers sorted and packaged the donations. The care packages were then delivered to Homeland Intelligence, a hub for similar donation drives. From there, Homeland Intelligence sent the donations to MacDill Air Force Base, where the military will deliver and distribute the donations in Puerto Rico.
Everyone at USAmeriBank is very proud of Katya for leading this effort and we are grateful to our employees and customers for their support.
We would particularly like to thank the following customers who made significant donations: Rocky Pagliarulo with DeMert Brands, Yasin Saad with Colonial Grocers, Khalid Sakr with Future Pharmacy, Omar Chaudhry with MTC Investment Group, Frank Salti with Salti Holdings, and Dr. Jennifer Nash with Turkey Creek Animal Hospital.
Here’s how you can help:
- Monetary donations: United for Puerto Rico (spearheaded by the first lady of Puerto Rico), unidosporpuertorico.com
- Course of Action Foundation is collecting donated items to send to Puerto Rico: Visit the Facebook page for an updated list of items and dropoff locations and times.
*USAmeriBank is not affiliated with either of the above mentioned resources.