Houstonians working to collect donations for Puerto Rico

Houstonians collecting donations for victims of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico.

The images coming out of Puerto Rico daily crush the hearts of Puerto Ricans watching the suffering from Houston.

"This is devastating, people are dying," said Javier Ferrer.

Ferrer is President of the Puerto Rican and Cuban Fest. He and so many other Houstonians can't just sit back and watch anymore.

"We started calling our friends and friends of friends, and we created this chain reaction," said Dr. Rocio Harbison.

Dr. Harbison is a Puerto Rican doctor in the Medical Center. She is one of dozens of Puerto Rican medical professionals in Houston teaming up to collect badly needed medical supplies for hurricane victims on the island.

The donations are piling up at doctors' offices around the city.

All of these supplies need to make it Puerto Rico and fast.

"It's heartbreaking, it's just so emotional," said Harbison.

"Puerto Rico is on its knees, we're all begging for supplies to make it to Puerto Rico," said Ferrer.

But logistics on the island and coordination with the federal government remains tricky. All of the items are ready to be shipped from Houston, but finding a plane to do it isn't easy.

Even the Houston Astros are having issues getting their supplies on relief flights to Puerto Rico.

"They're treating Puerto Rico like it's another part of the world," said Ferrer. "Like it's not the United States. Why is this happening?

Ferrer says the federal government needs to do more. For now, the city of Houston is vowing to do what it can to help.

"I recognize that there are still tremendous needs in our city, but we can meet the needs in our city and still be of help to others," said Mayor Sylvester Turner.

The Puerto Rican and Cuban Festival (PRC Festival) production team has started operation Texas United for Puerto Rico and will be coordinating a donation drive on September 30, 2017 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at four (4) select Fiesta Marts in the Houston area.

Volunteers from the PRC Festival will be accepting donations at Fiesta Mart at 4711 Airline Dr., 1175 Edgebrook, 333 S. Mason Rd. and 8320 FM 1960.

The needs are vast but recommended donations include: new or used chainsaws, generators, solar or battery powered lamps and fans, solar panels, batteries, flashlights, baby food and formula, diapers, bug repellant, cleaning supplies, water and canned goods.

Monetary donations will also be accepted at the Fiesta locations or via a GoFundMe account that has been established to support Puerto Rico at www.gofundme.com/UnidosPorPuertoRico

© 2017 KHOU-TV


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