Jeweler Marie Helene Morrow recommends those who want to help Puerto Rico donate to a charity called United for Puerto Rico. “I know, like everything else, life turns, the clock never stays on one number,” said Morrow, who’s lived on the Caribbean island since the 1960s. “I know we will survive this.”
I first met Marie Helene Morrow in Las Vegas around 2008 or 2009 through my boss at that time, Whitney Sielaff.

Here is an excellent retailer for you to know, he said to me as he introduced me to the woman he was seated across from, and he was right.

For those who don’t know her, Marie Helene owns and operates a total of 12 jewelry stores in Puerto Rico. Her flagship is Reinhold Jewelers in the Plaza Las Américas mall in San Juan, where she carries more than 40 designers.

She is known and loved for having a true passion for the art of jewelry, for being the first to spot talent (like David Yurman back in the day) and, moreover, just for being a very warm and sweet person.

She’s lived on Puerto Rico since the 1960s, but happened to be in Dallas with husband David visiting her daughter when Hurricane Maria hit last week.

Marie Helene hasn’t been able to get back yet but said she’s been in constant contact with neighbors, friends and her 70-plus employees about the situation on the ground.

A week after Maria, there’s still no power in the building where she lives, it’s “very scary” in the streets, there’s very little food and it’s difficult to get water.

Flooding and safety issues forced the closure of all of her stores, though she said she has continued to pay her sales associates. “I consider them my family,” she said, then reinforced that: “They are my family.”

Marie Helene is hopeful that Reinhold Jewelers and her boutiques will be able to reopen soon.

There still is a tremendous need on the island for the basics--food, water, power, clothing, shelter--yes, but Marie Helene said the people also need to feel that things are going to go back to normal.

They also need to feel that they won’t be forgotten.

“I think it’s very important for the island of Puerto Rico and for Puerto Ricans to feel that people still like them and people will still come,” she said.

There are several ways you can help the people of Puerto Rico right now.

The charity Marie Helene recommended is Unidos Por Puerto Rico (United for Puerto Rico), which Beatriz Rosselló, the wife of Puerto Rican Gov. Ricardo Rosselló, started.

After Hurricane Irma hit Florida, Jewelers of America expanded the scope of its disaster relief fund, which originally was created for Harvey victims, to include jewelers in the United States and its territories hit by any natural disaster. This includes Puerto Rico as well as other storm-ravaged Caribbean islands.

As of Thursday afternoon, more than $20,000 had been donated to what is now being called the Jewelers Disaster Relief Fund.

You can donate more on the campaign’s GoFundMe page.

There are also websites, like CharityNavigator.com, that compile lists of highly rated charity organizations that are responding to specific disasters. The site has a page for Hurricane Maria relief.

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