A relief center has been set up to assist hurricane victims who have made their way to Connecticut.
The ‘Relief Center For Our Caribbean Friends’ hopes to meet the needs of hurricane victims who need clothing, job search assistance, counseling, housing information, baby needs and food – all at no cost and under one roof.
The relief center is located at the old Two Rivers Magnet High School in Hartford on 15 Van Dyke Avenue in Hartford.
Rosalys Colon is one of more than 400 families who’ve been serviced at the center in the five days it’s been open.
"I have four little girls. The oldest is 6 years old, the other two are 2 years old and I have 6-month-old twins," Colon told NBC Connecticut’s Catalina Trivino, who has translated her Spanish interview. "Really, I feel so thankful and appreciative."
Hurricane Maria's high winds blew the roof off of Colon's home in Puerto Rico and now she is trying to start over in Connecticut with help from her family.
The Capital Region Education Council (CREC) is hoping to help Colon and many others move forward. The group's director of communications and community relations, Aura Alvarado, explained the process at the center.
"You get a case manager who asks you a set of questions, 'What do you need? What is your biggest need?' We make sure we have information and everyone leaves this center with some clothing, hats, coats, gloves and clothing. Winter clothing and food and toiletries," Alvarado said.
While CREC is the lead agency for the humanitarian effort, there are other agencies providing on-site support.
CREC can provide adult educations, English as a Second Language classes, referrals to human services providers and job readiness programs.
Capital Work Force Partners is assessing job skills and assisting with job training.
Catholic Charities Institute for the Hispanic Family is providing mental health checks and support for families.
Charter Oak Health Center has a mobile unit that comes on Wednesdays where victims can get free flu shots and a health assessment.
The Hartford Public Library can provide community ID’s, English as a Second Language referrals and registrations, library cards and backpack donations.
If residents would like to donate items, contact the center. Alvarado said two of the biggest needs are food and underclothing. Monetary donations and giftcards are also accepted.
The Relief Center for Our Caribbean Friends open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Tuesdays and Wednesdays and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays at 15 Van Dyck Avenue in Hartford. Locals can call the center at (860) 422-7095, visit the website or email.