News

Donations for devastated Puerto Rico flowing into Lawrence collection bins

LAWRENCE, Mass. — As much as two plane loads of donations could be heading to the island of Puerto Rico in an effort to aid those affected by Hurricane Maria.

Officials estimate at least 10,000 people are on the ground helping with relief efforts, but some say it's simply not enough.

Since the Puerto Rican population in Lawrence is considerably large, coming together as a community to help those back home was essential for so many of them.

"A lot of people are suffering, a lot of people have lost their medicine, their regular medicine their blood pressure medicine diabetes and a lot of people don't have clean water, some have to walk 7 miles just to get gas," said Tanika Smith.

For the last few days, Unidos por Puerto Rico have been taking in piles and piles of donations from all over the state.

There are so many donations that they say the governor's office is working with them to get at least two planes to help them get all these goods to Puerto Rico - as long as they can get all of it to City Hall Plaza in Boston.

"It's heartbreaking to see that there are babies that are in need, that there are elderly that are in need that there are families without homes," Smith says.

William Castro, one of the volunteers, was born on the island and to him, which is why he's so passionate about this cause.

"It's just overwhelming knowing what they are going through," Castro said. "I have never lost touch with the island I travel there a lot, I know the whole island."

However, for the first time, Castro doesn't know how his two sisters and brother are. Ever since the hurricane hit, he hasn't been able to reach them.

"We are talking you're not going to have light for four to six months, that's a lot of time. You have little kids who are walking in dirty water, pretty soon there is going to be a lot of disease coming up," Castro said.

That's why they'll keep taking in donations until they've reached every corner of this building.

They plan on taking donations until October 15. They say batteries, empty gas cans and over the counter medicine are the most needed items.

Volunteers are taking donations at 530 Broadway Street in Lawrence until 6 p.m. every day.

>> PREVIOUS: Donations for Puerto Rico pour into Lawrence collection center