It’s hard to fathom the devastation that was unleashed upon Puerto Rico last week. Not only was the island, quite literally, ripped apart when Hurricane Maria made landfall, over a week later the island is still without power, communication infrastructures have be decimated, and food, gas and potable water are all in dangerously short supply. What’s even scarier is that it looks like Puerto Rico’s 3.5 million U.S. Citizens will not be getting their power grid up any time soon. Add to this tropical heat, deplorable sanitary conditions and hospitals without fuel to run generators, and we really are looking at what the Puerto Rican government has described as a “humanitarian crisis.”
I don’t think there is a person in the fine jewelry industry who doesn’t know (or know of) Marie Helene Morrow, owner of the venerable chain of Puerto Rican-based jewelry stores, Reinhold Jewelers. To know Marie Helene, is to love Marie Helene. Warm, funny, smart, generous, Marie Helene stands as a bastion for passion in our industry. She was absolutely, indisputably, a chief pioneer of the designer fine jewelry movement, discovering artists like David Yurman and Robert Lee Morris long before they were on anyone else’s radar, and she has continued to nurture new designer talent every single day since opening Reinhold in the late 1970’s.
As we all watched Hurricane Maria encroach upon the Caribbean, making a bee-line for Puerto Rico, I’m sure that all of us had Marie Helene and her exceptional staff in our prayers. Thankfully, Marie Helene and her husband David were out of town when Maria hit, and all of Reinhold’s 70+ staff are safe and accounted for. Yet as she’s made explicitly clear on social media and via email and phone calls, the island needs help, “It is heartbreaking,” Marie Helene explains. “People have no food, no means of transportation, in many cases, no hope.”
We know there’s always confusion about the best resources to contribute to, but we’ve got it straight from Marie-Helene that Unidos Por Puerto Rico (United for Puerto Rico) is the most reliable place to donate.
So please, consider donating (generously!) to help the good, spirited, warm and colorful people of Puerto Rico, whom our very own Marie Helene considers family, in this desperate time of need. #WeAreCOUTURE