by Kimberly Pena
Hurricane Maria has departed, but the devastation that it left in Puerto Rico remains, as the torrid winds of the storm wiped out most of the island’s electricity and cell phone towers. Hundreds of families in New Britain still have not heard from their loved ones if they are alive and well.
Since the news broke of the Category 4 hurricane and its impact it would leave on the island, the Puerto Rican Society of New Britain has made it their initiative to send food, supplies and donations to the victims. They are encouraging residents of Connecticut to continue their generosity for the cause.
“We are so blessed that we are in the United States and we have the opportunity to bless them,” Marta De Jesus, President of the Puerto Rican Society of New Britain, said. “I want to thank everyone that has come out and has donated for the island. The community in New Britain has been amazing and all over has been amazing.”
PRSONB has been collecting canned food, water, diapers, batteries, toiletries, clothes and other supplies for the last two weeks. The organizations have already collected enough food to serve approximately 6,000 families, according to De Jesus.
Most of De Jesus’ family is located in Puerto Rico and she has acknowledged it has been a rough couple of weeks not hearing from her family. She hopes that her family as well as the people of Puerto Rico know help is on the way.
“Be patient. Of course, it is easier said than done, but be patient. Help is on the way. They will definitely receive what they need, food and water. I know God is with them,” De Jesus said. “Even though I am here, my heart has always been in Puerto Rico.”
Residents from all across the state have been coming down to the facility in New Britain to drop off donations for the relief efforts.
The radio station 93.7 reached out to De Jesus to team up with the organization and collect donations in Downtown New Britain this past week. New Britain Mayor Erin Stewart also showed up to participate in the relief efforts after being asked by the radio station.
Chimere Cooke, a resident of East Hartford, heard about PRSONB and their efforts through an announcement made on the station and knew that her and her daughter, Shilon Williams, had to make the drive to help the victims in Puerto Rico.
“They are in dire need and I believe if we were in the same situation as them, they would help us,” Cooke explained. “Giving should be a part of your lifestyle and I want to create a generation who gives. So, when my children see me giving, I am hoping they live a life of giving also.”
Those interested in donating are asked to come down to the facility, located at 152 High Street, Tuesday through Friday after 4 p.m.
“I am helping out because they really need help,” ten-year-old Williams said. “A friend should always help a friend, even if you don’t really know them that well.”