By Oralia Ortega

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – South Florida volunteers have been working long hours over the past few days as donations pour in to help those affected by Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico.

“Seeing the photos and videos of all the horrific things happening in Puerto Rico definitely inspired me to come out,” said volunteer Robert Murray. “I flew out on Thursday from Seattle, took the red eye and been down here doing whatever I can.”

“The outpouring of the South Florida community has been amazing,” said organizer Natascha Otero-Santiago. “We had 400 volunteers, thousands of people coming through.”

Organizers say a weekend drive at Ana G. Mendez University System managed to collect more than 100 pallets of water and another 100 pallets of goods.

While organizers are trying to get these items shipped over to Puerto Rico as soon as possible, the U.S. Navy made a special delivery of water and other supplies to the island.

Over in Wynwood, collections continue to pour in for those affected by Hurricane Maria.

“More than anything a donation of time is needed,” said Dr. Alison Thompson, who’s helping coordinate the relief effort with Reach Out America, a not for profit organization based out of Texas. “We had 300 volunteers here yesterday and the day before. We need volunteers to come down here. We’re packing all this up and Carnival Cruises is going to be giving their ships. We’re going to call it ‘The Love Boat.’  We’re going to be taking all this to Puerto Rico.”

For those who prefer to make a monetary donation, the American Red Cross says with an estimated 10,000 people at shelters in Puerto Rico your donation can provide help to those who need it.

“There’s also a big sheltering operation that’s happening in Puerto Rico and in the U.S. Virgin Islands,” said American Red Cross CEO Gail J. McGovern. “The Puerto Rican government is responsible for sheltering at this point.  We expect to be giving them a great deal of support.”

The Puerto Rico Relief Committee in Miami is announcing that the following items are urgently needed in Puerto Rico:

  • Non-perishable food goods
  • Baby food and diapers
  • New baby clothes
  • Batteries
  • First Aid Kits
  • Water
  • Lanterns and Flashlights
  • Feminine Products
  • Can Openers
  • Bug Repellent
  • Food for pets

The following are collection points in our area:

  • Mana Wynwood Warehouse
    • 2217 NW 5th Avenue
    • Miami, FL 33127
    • 7 a.m. – 6 p.m.
  • La Rosa Kendall
    • 12030 SW 129th Court Suite 105
    • Miami, FL 33186
    • 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday

If you are not in the South Florida area, please contact your local Puerto Rican Chamber of Commerce or PRFAA (Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration) at 202-778-0710.


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