SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (WSVN) — Help continues to pour into Puerto Rico from various organizations across the United States, and for one South Florida family, the struggle of Hurricane Maria victims hits close to home.
7News cameras captured volunteers carrying boxes of diapers and other supplies into a cargo plane in Opa-locka headed for the Caribbean island, Sunday.
The relief flight was organized by the Revitz family of Miami, who has close friends living in Puerto Rico. “It’s whatever’s needed. We went and we got it,” said Genna Revitz, who works for WSVN’s “Deco Drive.”
For those in Puerto Rico dealing with different kinds of challenges in the powerful storm’s aftermath, even a single box being flown to San Juan could make all the difference.
Revitz said she gathered the donations. “If we just asked, then people brought it,” she said.
Cameras captured volunteers carrying boxes out of the aircraft after it touched down in San Juan hours later.
The family arranged with the National Guard to bring the boxes into the city. A short truck ride later, the supplies made their way into the Roberto Clemente Coliseum in San Juan, a venue for concerts and special events that has been turned into a distribution center for items coming from private citizens and groups in Maria’s wake.
More than 200 volunteers at the coliseum are going through each box, item by item, making sure each box is properly labeled and that food items are still safe for consumption.
From there, supplies are divided up by type and distributed to nearly 80 towns and cities throughout Puerto Rico by members of the National Guard. “The attitude of all the employees, of the soldiers is very good, because they know that hunger can’t wait,” said National Guard Capt. Jonathan Tossas. “We are delivering this stuff as fast as we can.”
At the coliseum, volunteer Katia Diaz, her husband Carlos and daughter Mia are spending their days lending a helping hand. They own two businesses, but with no power, there’s no work.
“We don’t see the progress, so you get desperate,” said Katia. “Day by day, it’s like, ‘OK, today is the same as yesterday, as the last week.’ So that’s why we’re here.”
Revitz and her loved ones hope these contributions from Miami will make a make in that desperation for someone. “The boxes are gonna have to keep coming, but every box goes a long way,” she said.
People in San Juan who spoke with 7News said they believe the situation is more dire outside the metropolitan area. The more pressing issue, they said, is the lack of electricity and fuel, which is keeping residents from getting the necessities of life.
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