Puerto Rico's Hurricane Maria Recovery: Teen Delivers More Than 1,000 Solar Lamps to Victims

As Puerto Rico continues to struggle four months after Hurricane Maria, one teenager is doing all he can to help residents recover from the devastating storm.

Salvador Gomez Colon, 15, has raised more than $123,000 and has helped distribute hundreds of solar lamps to families in need, CNNMoney reports.

“It’s very crazy to think that there are still people without power,” the ninth-grader said on CNN early Saturday. “Four months without power is an extremely traumatizing experience.”

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During the immediate aftermath of the storm, Gomez Colon knew he needed to help, but he wondered: what do others need? There were already many campaigns for food and money, but he realized other issues weren’t being addressed, he told Teen Vogue.

“The first idea that came to mind was about light. Thousands and thousands of families don’t have power and light. It’s a safety and public health issue,” Gomez Colon told Teen Vogue.

More precisely, about 450,000 of 1.5 million electricity customers on the island are still without power as of late January, according to PBS NewsHour.

2_3_solar lamp A bartender greets patrons with a lone solar lamp, in a bar without electricity, in the touristic Old San Juan neighborhood, on October 13, 2017 in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico is suffering shortages of food and water in many areas and only 9 percent of grid electricity has been restored. The tropical island's tourism industry has collapsed. Puerto Rico experienced widespread damage including most of the electrical, gas and water grid as well as agriculture after Hurricane Maria, a category 4 hurricane, swept through. Mario Tama/Getty Images

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He went on to get advice from his mother’s friend, Neha Misra, who helps to provide solar power in Africa. Shortly after, he decided to set up an Indiegogo campaign to raise money to purchase solar lamps and other supplies. Within a day, he raised more than $14,000 of his $100,000 goal. The campaign, which launched on September 28 and is still running, has since surpassed his goal by more than $23,000.

On the weekends, Gomez Colon travels around the island with his family, friends, and volunteers to personally distribute items. He’s helped more than 800 households so far and still has 1,600 lamps he plans on giving out in the near future. The teen has also distributed hundreds of hand-crank washing machines, which are able to be used without light or power.

Gomez Colon told Teen Vogue he has the desire to achieve many things in life, but at the end of the day he just wants to help people.

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