Last night, Lin-Manuel Miranda made his appearance and contribution to Stephen Colbert’s #PuberMe initiative to aid Puerto Rico by offering of video of himself at 15, singing about his longing for the American island country, complete with family photos. Stephen Colbert was overjoyed to see the totals for his matching campaign from the sale of his designated “AmeriCone Dream” variety of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream go over the $1 million mark. The late-night host challenged celebrity friends to show pubescent pictures of themselves, and he would match each during volunteer with $1000 to the aid of Puerto Rico.

Lin-Manuel Miranda joked that he just now was “growing into my nose,” but even at that awkward age, the young Miranda already had the gift of pouring heart into words, and he announced his own project for Puerto Rico. The song Almost Like Praying is out now on all streaming services, and every bit of the proceeds go to benefit all those afflicted by Hurricane Maria via the Hispanic Federation, including the ones that are only getting exposure because of pleas from the people and conscientious news media.

This morning, October 6, Lin-Manuel Miranda was wide awake on “CBS This Morning,” and telling everyone who would listen about the song, the strong people of Puerto Rico, and why their needs are so great.

This is a very personal cause, and the “Hamilton” creator and composer called on some stellar talents who are personal friends for support. He is on a mission for the duration and is committed to making a real and lasting difference, much beyond tossing paper towels.

Above and beyond

Lin Manuel Miranda is determined that “Almost Like Praying” doesn't sound or get perceived as a rushed one-off.

He was dedicated to creating a song “as catchy as any other song I’d write.” Jennifer Lopez, Marc Anthony, Gloria Estefan, and an entire cast of top-tier musicians and stars of the stage and screen with roots that trace to Puerto Rico add parts to the tune.

“Every artist made miracles happen,” Miranda later explained on “Today.” Miracles are going to be needed.

Only 17 out of 69 hospitals are functioning. Very ill and elderly people, such as those with cancer or on dialysis treatment are dying or in dire straits because generators are the only hope of keeping vital equipment running, and fuel is still in desperately short supply.

One answer that Lin-Manuel Miranda found for inspiration was to include the names of the 78 towns in Puerto Rico, mentioned in each singer’s contribution. The critical needs of people extend deep into the mountainous territory, far beyond San Juan and the airport, and the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright wants people to hear those names, shooting straight for the heart. His own grandmother lives in Lares, and he wants those living in the towns that never get television coverage to know that they are not forgotten.

Unprecedented outcry under this president

Lin-Manuel Miranda has been questioned often about the words he posted directly to the sitting president on his Twitter feed for September 30. While he wishes that the blunt post could have held traits he strives for as a “silver lining” of social media, the sense of insult and dismissal that Miranda felt was exhibited in word and deed from the elected leader in the aftermath of disaster led him to use unprecedented language. He makes no excuse or apology. “I had to express my feelings on that,” the Tony winner reiterates.

Tomorrow night, Telemundo will air a special on the making of “Almost Like Praying.” One of the most memorable experiences for Lin-Manuel Miranda was sitting down beside the likes of the musical greats, and hearing the individual, shining memories of Puerto Rico.

Those words were warm the composer’s heart forever, and he has faith that the words and melodies of “Almost Like Praying” will play a role beyond any lip service in restoring the land of their shared Hispanic-American roots.