Families in Northeast Ohio are waiting anxiously to hear from family in Puerto Rico, where power is out nearly everywhere and officials are expecting a massive and long cleanup from destruction left behind by Hurricane Maria.
To help, a group of Clevelanders are getting together to make sure their family and friends are not forgotten.
The Clark Fulton neighborhood in Cleveland has one of the highest concentrations of Puerto Ricans in the state. The eye of Hurricane Maria passed right over the cities in Puerto Rico where many of them came from and where many still have family living today.
“It’s beyond scary. Scary is not even the word for it,” said Margie Colon, a Cleveland resident from Puerto Rico.
“It’s almost impossible right now… messenger is really the only thing that’s working,” said Irvin Hernandez, also from Puerto Rico.
“I was in Puerto Rico for George, for Hortense, I’ve been there for a few of the hurricanes, for Hugo and it was bad, but nothing like this,” said Hernandez.
Colon and Hernandez, along with other Puerto Ricans that live in Cleveland, met at Club San Lorenzo Wednesday. San Lorenzo is the same name of the town in Puerto Rico where many who live in Clark-Fulton came from.
“We just want to make sure that we can do our part to help and that’s what we want to do,” said Colon.
Colon and fellow Puerto Ricans are gathering together to send supplies to the millions of people being battered on their home island. Barely able to clean up from Hurricane Irma, the island was hit again - this time, by an even stronger Hurricane Maria.
“There wasn’t no chance after Irma, there really wasn’t no chance, everything was sold out in the stores. It’s been raining since Irma, so that didn’t help it at all,” she said.
She’s hoping this community, with such deep ties to the island suffering so much, will turn out in force to help.
“We want water, we want clothes, we want baby food, we want formula. Whatever you got, canned, whatever you got that you can donate, that’s what we’re going to need right now,” she said.
The drive to collect donations for Puerto Rico starts Thursday at noon and will go until 8 p.m. It will run from Noon-8p.m. every day through Sunday. Donations can be taken to the San Lorenzo Club at 3415 Clark Avenue in Cleveland. They are accepting canned goods, baby food, clothing, water, non-perishable items, diapers, pet supplies, everything but cash.