NEWARK, De. (WTXF) - As Puerto Rico continues to deal with the devastation wrought by Hurricane Maria, many Americans are searching for ways to assist the U.S. territory in its recovery.
Many of the island's more than 3.4 million American citizens are still without adequate food, water and fuel. Gas stations, banks, and supermarkets are gradually reopening, but there are limited supplies.
Beebee Santiago, of Delaware, is one local resident coordinating relief efforts to support those affected by Hurricane Maria, as well as those affected by the earthquake in Mexico.
The grassroots effort was born out of a simple Facebook post expressing interest in helping by Santiago, who has family in Puerto Rico.
Within days, supplies started pouring in, filling up two warehouses, a local business and church. Storage space was offered, a truck donated a volunteers began turning out by the dozens.
Bruny Mercado, one of the event’s organizers, still has not been able to reach her family in Puerto Rico. She knew she had to be involved, and has been amazed at the response, but she also worries.
“It costs over 4,000 dollars to ship 20 pallets of supplies,” she told FOX 29. “They have hundreds of them.”
Mercado also spoke to the issue many relief efforts are experiencing across the country: those hoping to help are happy to drop off supplies, but no one knows how the supplies are going to make it to the island.
When Mercado arrived at the warehouse on Sunday, she was barely able to contain her excitement. She found a way.
“The longshoremen for the Port of Wilmington confirmed for me yesterday that they will take everything,” she told FOX 29. “They will provide the containers and ship it.”
They still need someone to donate a tractor trailer to get everything to the Port of Wilmington and a plane to carry donated medical supplies that need to be refrigerated.
But obstacles don't seem to slow this group. They will be accepting donations for their Puerto Rico hurricane and Mexico earthquake relief efforts at the locations listed below through the end of October:
- Storage #10
- 825 Dawson Drive
- Newark, Delaware 19713
- Bruny's Bail Bonds
- 1927 West 4th Street
- Wilmington, Delaware 19805
- Monday through Friday
- 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.
- 3p.m. – 6 p.m.
- Non-perishable food
- Baby and kids clothes
- Powdered milk
- Baby wipes
- Diaper rash cream
- All hygiene products
- Latex gloves
- Sanitary napkins
- Adult Depends (or comparable products for elderly and disabled individuals)
For additional information, call Bruny Mercado at (302) 494-6212.