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Chicago mobilizes for Puerto Rican hurricane relief effort

CHICAGO -- Puerto Rico is already reeling from previous hurricanes and a crippling economic crisis. Now it faces a major challenge in the form of Hurricane Maria, which could deliver a direct hit to the island.

Chicago's Puerto Rican community is gearing up for what could be a massive humanitarian effort.

More than 4 million Puerto Ricans are bracing for Maria, which has already devastated the island of Dominica.

Chicago's sizable Puerto Rican community is deeply concerned that Hurricane Maria could bring Puerto Rico to its knees.

"You've got 14 hospitals operating on generators. You have a first reponder corps that is limited because of the lack of investment in public services due to these austerity measures," said Cristina Pacione-Zayas of the group known as The Puerto Rican Agenda. "This is the perfect storm for the collapse of our island."

Here are some ways you can help:

This Thursday, September 21st, during an annual Raices Gala, NMPRAC will dedicate their live auction to Hurricane Maria Relief with 100% of proceeds raised going towards this important effort.

The National Museum Puerto Rican Arts and Culture (NMPRAC) is partnering with Congressman Gutierrez and Chicago's Puerto Rican community to support the disaster recovery efforts that will be immediately needed in Puerto Rico.

The Emergency Puerto Rico Hurricane Relief Fundraiser will be held this Friday, September 22, from 7:00 to 11:00 p.m. at Segundo Ruiz Belvia Cultural Center, 4048 West Armitage Avenue. There is a $25 donation.