Local Puerto Rican mom and attorney organizes supplies drive

A Northern Virginia mom and native Puerto Rican decided to do something to help her beloved Island.

A Northern Virginia mom and Puerto Rican native decided to do something to help her beloved Island. 

She has started an impressive food and supplies drive and she's making plans to deliver it all in person next week. 

Hurricane Maria slammed into Puerto Rico on September 20th. The Category 5 storm wreaked havoc on island, destroying the electricity grid and water supplies. 

Three weeks later, people are still struggling to find find and water.  

“There’s parts of the island in the mountains, that still don’t have water supply and they’re not getting any water. They’re not getting food," said Sara Rodriguez who is is angry over the slow pace of help on her native island, where her parents and cousins live.

“People are dying in the hospitals because the hospitals don’t have electricity. They’re running on diesel and they can't find enough diesel to keep the power on continuously," said Rodriguez.

Rodriguez, an attorney and manager with the EKKO Title company, decided to do something about it. She enlisted the help of all of the company’s Northern Virginia offices.

“The generosity of the folks in this area was just tremendous," says one of the many volunteers.

They collected pounds and pounds of canned goods, paper towels and toilet paper. At one point, a man not only handed them a bag of supplies he just bought, but then opened his wallet and handed them a $100 bill and told them to buy what they needed.  

“Standing out in front of the Giant, it sort of restores your faith in humanity. We were asking for one or two things and people were coming out with bags full of stuff," said Marcus Simon, an attorney with the McLean EKKO office.  

“People feel powerless. We’re had a lot of bad news lately. This is something where people do something positive that’s going to be effective and that’s going to work," said Simon. 

The volunteers are collecting non-perishable food and supplies until Friday, October 13. Then, they will drive the supplies to Orlando where they’ve secured chartered flights to Puerto Rico.

“Where there’s a will there’s a way. Thankfully, because we are not using government resources, we don’t have the red tape...And we are going to get on trucks and we are going to go to the towns and counties that have no water and no resource and no food. And hopefully be able to bring them a little big, just a little bit. It's not going to make a huge difference since we're talking that this is going to be months before they get up and running.  But hopefully this gives them a little hope."

Anyone who'd like to help out, can drop off non-perishable food and supplies such as bottled water, paper products, baby food, tampons and pads and medicine to any Northern Virginia EKKO office. Click here for locations. 

© 2017 WUSA-TV


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