Locals Organizing Donations For Struggling Island Of Puerto Rico

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Much of the island of Puerto Rico is devastated.

Without power, the victims will need help and we’re seeing the generosity of so many giving what they can.

A Puerto Rican band plays at a Puerto Rican cultural event where the mood is not of a celebration but more of service.

“Turn out has been incredible,” said Mario Catalino with the Puerto Rican leadership council. “I gotta thank not just everyone in the Puerto Rican family but everyone else.”

Catalino is a member of the Puerto Rican Council that includes eight other organizations in South Florida.

He is one of hundreds of people with family on the island cut off from communication.

“My father called and said he was having heart problems and someone was taking him to the hospital,” Catalino said. “Today I was in the bank; my cousin was walking down the street [in Puerto Rico] and she found some WIFI. She starting receiving messages so she starting sending messages. I lost it — you think you are strong until you go through sometime like this.

Catalino’s story is similar to so many others we’ve heard — families waiting for word — with most of the island damages and destroyed they will need help.

The South Florida community has mobilized and collected enough essentials to fill two containers. They now need more containers to ship items to the island on a consistent basis.

“It moves me to do this type of work,” said Isabelle, who was dropping off some donated items. “I am not a wealthy person but anything you can help is good.”

Catalino hopes you’ll find it in your heat to give — more importantly you’ll remember something much more powerful.

“If you have a loved one – close to you — love on them,” he said. “You never know when you won’t be able to talk to them. “

If you are interested in donating — they need water, person items, non-perishable food and hygiene items — there are drop off location all across Miami-Dade and Broward Counties — if you can’t find one – call the Puerto Rican council.

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