HOUSTON — A Houston nonprofit with volunteers on the ground in Puerto Rico is organizing a relief effort after Hurricane Fiona left the island with flooding and widespread power outages.
“The damages that we are seeing are catastrophic,” Gov. Pedro Pierluisi said.
On Monday afternoon at the North Houston warehouse of National Association of Christian Churches Disaster Services, staff loaded boxes of nonperishable items, hygiene products, clothing, and other essentials into a trailer that will eventually be driven to Florida and shipped to Puerto Rico.
“As soon as we’re able to fill it, they will leave,” said Volunteer Coordinator Liliana Lopez with NACC. “It hurts when I see others hurting, and I am so happy to be part of this organization where my president, I can truly say has a big heart, not only for Puerto Rico but everybody around here.”
Lopez says the group's president, Pastor Jose Ortega, is originally from Puerto Rico.
The pastor and his wife spoke to KHOU from the island a day prior.
“We’ve been able to get water to a lot of areas that are needed and snacks,” Ortega said. “Right now, the worst thing is that there’s no power on the whole island. The grid has not recovered fully since Hurricane Maria.”
NACC staff and volunteers also went to the island following Maria in 2017.
Lopez says anyone can bring items to the nonprofit’s headquarters, located at 16680 Central Green Boulevard in Houston. There’s a 24-hour donation box for the smaller items out front.
“I’ve heard from the Puerto Rican community already,” Lopez said. “I just got off the phone with one, and they want to spread the word for us, too. So, they’re there collecting items, and they will be bringing those in as well.”
People can donate money through NACC’s website.
NACC is also looking for volunteers, both in Houston and Puerto Rico.