State Representatives Geraldo Reyes, of Waterbury, and Minnie Gonzalez, of Hartford, will be going to Puerto Rico this week, but traveling there will be no vacation for them.
Since Hurricanes Irma and Maria struck Puerto Rico, the Connecticut legislators have raising money for the island. In just over two months, they’ve reached their goal of $100,000, thanks to the community’s donations.
As the island continues to recover from the disaster left behind by the hurricanes, the two legislators will be on the island, assessing damage and using the money they raised to help buy everyday needs for the many victims left with nothing.
“We will actually go and purchase these items and give them to the people of need,” said Rep. Reyes.
Gonzalez flies out on Sunday with several generators, while Reyes leaves late Wednesday with 200 pounds worth of items.
“Food items, toiletries emergency items and flashlights and such. These are things I will disperse in the southern part of Puerto Rico and pretty much the greater Ponce area,” he said.
As those items are being dispersed, a trailer full of donations will follow. Inside are pallets filled with canned food, water and medicine and more.
For the two state representatives who are funding their own travel expenses heading to the island has personal meaning. Reyes is of Puerto Rican decent and Gonzalez was born there and both have family members living in Puerto Rico.
“I know it’s going to be hard. I have two sisters over there and they’ve been telling me that I’m not going to recognize my town,” said Gonzalez.
“I’ve taken this trip many times, but I’m a little anxious of what I’ll actually find,” said Reyes.
Both plan to come back to Connecticut to speak to legislators about the conditions on the island.
“I’m planning to bring the experience here and show them how hard it is and how people are suffering over there,” said Gonzalez.