PHILADELPHIA (WTXF) - A local family just returned from a month-long mission trip to Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria.
"Everybody will tell you the same thing the same it was a monster. The noise and it was hours and hours," said Jessie Alejandro-Cruz and her husband David. They just returned from a month long trip to Puerto Rico on a mission trip after Hurricane Maria devastated the island.
"When we went the first time we went there with food and the second time we went there with money," said Jessie. They both live in Philadelphia but Jessie was born there and David has family in Puerto Rico. They went to assess the need and help.
"The children were sleeping on wet mattresses and they didn't have tarps. Some had little tarps but the rain was going right through the tarps," said Jessie. So they took money for mattresses, arranged for tarps to be donated and other necessities.
"They needed either food or some were sick so they needed Ensure. A lot of them needed diapers," she said. Pictures they took show the devastation they encountered over the course of three trips there since a week after the hurricane hit on September 20th and they say almost four months later many towns still don't have electricity.
"Some of the places as well still don't have water. We saw people on the highway where the water was coming through a spring water from the mountains. They were actually getting water from there," said Jessie and David.
Cellphone video they recorded shows an elderly man trapped inside his home. They took him clothes and helped get him into a shelter. Jessie gets emotional about another couple they found.
"She said I was just asking and praying that someone would come and help me bathe my husband because he was bed ridden."
They reached out to people on Facebook for donations. Companies from different states helped get them supplies to distribute. With all they accomplished they left vowing to come back and with a motto for their mission.
"Instead of preaching the word just go there and get it done," they said.
They've used some of their savings but have also set up a GoFundMe page for donations to help them continue their mission work in Puerto Rico.