After uncertainty, 500,000 lbs. of supplies headed to Puerto Rico from Cleveland

Posted at 9:52 PM, Oct 20, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-20 21:52:22-04

After weeks of not knowing, Puerto Ricans in Cleveland finally have a way to get 500,000 pounds of supplies to Puerto Rico.

Feeding America, one of the largest organizations of food banks in the world has agreed to transport 18 truckloads of supplies from Cleveland to Puerto Rico.

“We want water, we want clothes, we want baby food, we want formula, whatever you got, canned food, whatever you got that you can donate, that’s what we’re going to need right now,” said Margie Colon weeks ago, when Hurricane Maria first hit Puerto Rico.

Colon with the help of the Clark-Fulton community was able to collect seven truckloads of food and supplies. Seven though would ultimately turn into 17.

500,000 pounds of water, food, and countless other items now sit in the IX Center, the only place big enough to hold them.

Clevelanders put in all that hard work though, but had no way of getting the supplies to Puerto Rico. That was, until Friday.

“We essentially called Feeding America, gave them the thumbs up, said this is great product, that these clients are going to want and very soon thereafter they started making the arrangements for the transportation,” said Kristin Warzocha, President and CEO of the Greater Cleveland Food Bank.

Feeding America, through the Greater Cleveland Food Bank will be driving more than 17 trucks filled with supplies from the IX Center to Florida, where they will either be flown or sent on a ship to Puerto Rico.

“I have been watching and seeing food drives for my entire professional career. I can’t remember one that raised this much food,” said Warzocha.

She was blown away when she saw how much was collected. Getting the supplies to Puerto Rico was not easy. Warzocha is happy though, that piece of this puzzle is finally complete.

“There are so many people who want to help and I’m thrilled that Feeding America is stepping up to the plate to make this happen,” she said.

The supplies at the IX Center will be loaded up and shipped to Florida on Monday. When they arrive in Puerto Rico a few days later, they will be dispersed through the Puerto Rican food bank to the 70 counties throughout the island.