After Hurricane Maria's devastation in Puerto Rico, Oklahomans are stepping in to help get a vital resource to millions of people in need. The Timmses are collecting LifeStraw water filters, which can be used at almost any water source, simply by dipping one end into the water and sipping from the other.
Clean running water is a resource we often take for granted in America. Right now, FEMA reports nearly two million Americans are without it in Puerto Rico. That is 55% of the population there.
Puerto Rico native Nail Alvarado-Timms says, “They’re drinking from creeks and cisterns and trying to find other sources of water because there’s just no access.”
Charles Timms knew he had to help after hearing from his wife Nail's family for the first time since the storm hit. Their conversation lasted less than two minutes before the call dropped, but the message was clear. “You could hear it in their voice,” Timms says, “how difficult it was to get those basic items like clean water.”
The couple decided to take action, working with Cabelas and Bass Pro Shops in hopes of buying every available LifeStraw fiilter in the metro area. “It has a capacity to filter 264 gallons so there’s quite a bit of use and value in something so small,” Alvarado-Timms says.
Timms is using expertise from his public health career with the Air Force to plan a six month trip to the island, bringing not only the easy-to-use water filters, but also medicine and other supplies. He hopes Oklahomans can help by contributing to a GoFundMe page, and is also working with the local Puerto Rican Foundation, which is hosting a donation drive Saturday, Oct. 14 in the parking lot of Plaza Mayor mall.
“We kind of consider ourselves transplant Oklahomans,” Timms says, “but it didn’t take us long to realize what the Oklahoma Standard meant.”
Timms is leaving for Puerto Rico this week, but he is still collecting donations. To help, click here.