As Florida prepares for the wrath of Hurricane Irma, people in our state are already stepping up to help storm victims in Puerto Rico.
Irma skirted by the island, but still left a trail of destruction and more than a million people without power there.
On Saturday, New Britain’s Puerto Rican Festival was underway on High Street.
But at it this year many people’s thoughts are with family back in their homeland and they’re finding a way to help. People launched an effort to help loved ones 1,600 miles away in Puerto Rico.
“It’s very important that we reach out to the community and we stay together. This is the time,” Maggie DeJesus, Puerto Rican Society president, said.
And those with family on the island opened their hearts and donated whatever they can.
“Our people needs it. It’s not much, but it’s something,” Victor Luna of Hartford, said.
Earlier this week, Hurricane Irma dealt Puerto Rico a glancing blow. That was enough to kill at least three people, knock down poles and leave more than a million people without power.
“I got a brother who needs chemo and they got no light or anything. So we’re trying to see if we can set them up with generators,” Willy Pabon, New Britain City Alderman, said.
Realizing the island was hurting, Latino state legislators decided to band together and set up a relief drive.
“Whatever they can give it’s going to go a long way to help the people of Puerto Rico,” Rep. Robert Sanchez, D-New Britain, said.
Sanchez says the impact on the island hits those in Connecticut hard too, with a large Puerto Rican community here. He says all the money and supplies collected will go toward the hurricane relief.
“Because the infrastructure on the island is so bad and the economy is so poor on the island, it’s going to take weeks if not months to get lights throughout the whole island,” Sanchez said.
The hope is also to help other hard hit Caribbean islands.
There are several more collection stops across the state later this month.
- September 16: New Haven, Grand Ave. & Ferry St., 10 a.m.- 8 p.m.
- September 23: Waterbury, East Main Street, 10 a.m. - 8 p.m.
- September 30: Hartford, Park Street, 10 a.m. - 8 p.m.
- Bridgeport and New London yet to be announced