On Sept. 20, category 4 hurricane Maria made landfall near Yabucoa, Puerto Rico. The historic hurricane brought complete devastation to the Caribbean island, knocking out power for all of its three million plus residents, destroying entire villages and cutting off communication with loved ones.
Reggaeton star Daddy Yankee, born and raised in Puerto Rico and who now resides on the U.S. territory with his wife and children, has teamed up with Feeding America, asking his fans to bring donations — diapers, water, non-perishables and more — to his concerts.
On Sunday, the “Despacito” singer participated in a telethon to raise funds and pledged a donation of $100,000 to the relief efforts.
Daddy Yankee, who was in Puerto Rico for Hurricane Irma but came to the States to continue his tour, tells PEOPLE about his family’s experience, how he’s joining forces with other Latino stars to send aid and his plans to help his beloved island rebuild.
I got a text from my brother, saying that everybody was okay — my parents, my nephews, my niece, all of them. I just talked to my wife for two minutes at the most and then the signal faded away. It’s unbelievable what’s happening. There’s no power and no communication in Puerto Rico.
I watch the footage all over the internet. Watching the news, watching the images, I know that it’s a complete devastation in Puerto Rico — nothing that we’ve seen before.
Right now everybody is trying to rebuild the country, waiting for help. Right now, we got at least one more week for water and food, but after that it’s going to be chaos. We don’t want that.
Honestly, I just got up and my heartbeat was like a crazy adrenaline rush. I said, “I got to do something. I got to do something because I live there, my family’s there.” I asked myself, “Okay, what can I do right now? Gather supplies, get everybody involved and try to bring all the supplies to Puerto Rico.” That’s what I’m working on right now with the community, my fans and everybody in a position of power to donate for Puerto Rico.
There’s a time to leave all the differences behind us and move forward with everything. Right now is the moment to rise up. We want to rebuild Mexico and we want to rebuild Puerto Rico. We just got to be focused on that. Whatever happens, everything that divides us in this moment, let’s get rid of everything and just focus on rebuilding and reinventing ourselves.
Help is on the way. Everybody is involved right now — it’s a long process. It’s a big mobilization of supplies. We have the government mobilizing different emergency groups in Puerto Rico, everything that we the artists are gathering as well. It takes a strategy and infrastructure to make that happen and we are organizing. But help is on the way.
We hope that we can at least bring some relief to families in Puerto Rico because we’re talking about millions right now … we can impact the island with millions, but this is a project of billions of dollars. We need the Fortune 500 companies involved as well in order to get the kids back into education, in order to have a healthy Puerto Rico again.
We need your help — please donate to Feed America. I just put a link on my Facebook and on Instagram and right now we’re almost over $138,000. I want to match what we accomplish. That’s the easy job, for me to match everything. I do that on a daily basis; the thing is that I don’t publicize it. But this time, I want to inspire people, to get everybody involved.
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I have to go back — I’m obligated. I live there, my family is there. I think God works in mysterious ways because for some reason God wanted me to be here in the States at this time. So that means that I’m here for some reason and it’s to get the most possible for my community and that’s what I’m doing right now.
I’m working for Puerto Rico and for Mexico as well.
I want all my Latino community to rise up. We can do better. We can make it.