BRANDON, Fla. — A team of volunteers from the Tampa Bay region went to Puerto Rico Wednesday to help provide relief following the impacts left behind by Hurricane Fiona.
The hurricane tore through the territory over the weekend, leaving behind flooding, destruction and widespread power outages.
The Brandon-based non-profit Boricuas de Corazón said it has donated 120,000 pounds of supplies so far, but it's looking for more donations, namely solar equipment and cleaning supplies.
The non-profit's founder Linda Perez said the volunteers will remain on the ground there for as long as they're needed.
"This is my people and I don't want anyone to die. I want to make sure that every Puerto Rican on the island believes that when we came here it is to help them. No matter what is happening in our country, we are here for them," Perez said.
After delivering the supplies to the region, the volunteers have also been working to reach people who have been disconnected by flooding and power outages. One of those people is Florencia Padilla, the brother of Lidia Padilla who lives in the Tampa Bay area.
Through a Spanish translator, Lidia told 10 Tampa Bay, "I have not been able to establish communication and that has me very worried. I have tried to communicate with them, with my nieces, but there's no electricity."
Her brother Florencia has Alzeheimer's and is bedridden. His home may have been impacted by a flash flood and landslide in the region. Now, Lidia waits patiently for any information about his well-being.
"That is my biggest hope in God, that nothing has happened to them, and that way I can be at peace that they are OK," she said.
According to Boricuas de Corazón's website, it is a non-profit organization of civilians "that are helping victims of a natural disaster to reorganize their life after the events." The non-profit said it provides resources and connections to get affordable housing, food, shelter and assistance to Latino communities in their languages.
Boricuas de Corazón is accepting donations at its Brandon location, 1291 Kingsway Rd.
Boricuas de Corazón is looking for donations of the following:
- Over-the-counter medication
- Medical equipment (wheelchairs, crutches, walkers, strollers, respiratory machines, pressure machines, diabetes machines, etc.)
- Baby diapers, creams, and hygiene kits
- Senior diapers, pads, and creams
- Hygiene kits for children, adults, and seniors
- Solar equipment
- Cleaning supplies
Other organizations in the Tampa Bay region are are also stepping up to help people on the island: