DORAL, FLA. (WSVN) - Help is on the way for people in Central America and the Caribbean who lost everything during two recent storms, thanks to local efforts to collect donations from South Floridians.
The nonprofit Amor y Fuerza Honduras (Love and Strength Honduras) is collecting items in Doral to help those affected by Hurricane Eta and who faced another strike in the form of Hurricane Iota.
The organization has been stocking up at Northwest 79th Avenue and 16th Street, with items ranging from clothes to food and other necessities ready to be shipped out.
Those behind the supply drive said they want to do even more.
“Yesterday we had two trucks coming in from to different churches, to fill up this 40-foot container, and we want to do more,” said organizer Martha Hernandez. “We just don’t want to send only one container.”
Amor y Fuerza Honduras plans to keep collecting and shipping supplies every week. They hope to ship out their latest collection by Friday.
“It’s just something that I feel that I have to do,” said Hernandez.
With Iota making landfall in Nicaragua as a Category 4 storm, late Monday night, those struggling in the country need more help than ever.
“It’s going to be a catastrophe, pretty much, again,” said Hernandez.
Iota is expected to cause landslides, flooding and a surge of up to 18 feet in parts of Honduras and Nicaragua.
“I just felt I needed to do something,” said Bernadette Siy who donated items. “I was just sitting at home and I wanted to really be a part of the effort to help the people who are affected.”
Hernandez said she knows the people in her home country of Honduras will need all the resources they can get after back-to-back hurricanes.
“We are just calling the entire community in Miami that can help us donate,” she said. “Right now, we’re most needing medicines, mattresses [and] tools so the people over there can go back and recover the little that is left.”
Police in Honduras tweeted that several agencies are working together to move people from communities that are known to be the most vulnerable.
In Florida, agencies are getting supplies ready. Another local organization collecting donations is Food for the Poor. The Coconut Creek-based nonprofit has been busy since Hurricane Eta and has already sent supplies to the countries that were most affected.
“The ones that were hit the worst were actually six countries. In that order would be Honduras, Nicaragua, Guatemala, El Salvador, Belize and Jamaica,” said Angel Aloma, Food for the Poor’s executive vice president and chief marketing officer. “We have been really busy. Already, we have sent 96 containers of aid to the countries that are hit.”
Samaria Beauty Supply stores are also making their locations drop-off sites for supplies.
As for Hernandez, she hopes their collection drive will provide people with some relief. They have several pallets ready to be shipped once Iota moves away from the area.
“They are already poor, and for this to happen it’s going to be even worse,” said Hernandez.
“It breaks my heart, and I know it will break everyone’s hearts, so people will respond to the great need that they have,” said Aloma.
With Thanksgiving around the corner, organizers hope Floridians will donate whatever they can.
“It’s very difficult to understand that for us, Thanksgiving is kind of disappointing this year because of the [coronavirus], and we may not be able to get together with all our family,” said Aloma, “but for them, Thanksgiving, they give thanks just when they can feed their children a plate of rice and beans.”
Donations to Amor y Fuerza Honduras can be dropped off at 1520 N.W. 79th Ave., Monday through Saturday from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information, call 305-454-3031 or 786-537-0020.
If you would like to make a donation to Food for the Poor, click here.
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