CHARLOTTE, NC (FOX 46) - The devastation of Puerto Rico is massive.
"I haven't slept in 5 days. I call every hour. His phone doesn't go through; I get a different message" Julia Simonsen's father teaches at the University of Puerto Rico in Mayaguez. He’s known as the Russian Professor there but she hasn't been able to hear anything about that area or her father.
"I’m not Puerto Rican, but my soul is with Puerto Rico and we need to help Puerto Rico," Simonsen said.
The Mayor of San Juan, asking people to send diapers, formula, mosquito repellent, batteries, water and first aid kits and The Puerto Rican Culture Society of Charlotte is heeding the call.
"Essential items that we take for granted they are going to need and it's going to be a continuous need because as you know we won’t get electricity probably for 4 to 6 months from now," Janira Cho, who has family on the island, said.
"There is no bridge to get these U.S. Citizens to Florida, to New York , or to Boston or to Charlotte. There's no flights, there's no infrastructure, there's no lights for 6 months. You think about that and things start to make sense about the desperation and the need for us to come together as a Hispanic community.” President of the Puerto Rican Cultural Society of Charlotte Ester Ramirez-Pevney said.
Even though Puerto Rico is hurting, they haven't forgotten about Mexico and their crisis. Half of the money they collect will go there to help them rebuild as well.
With trucks filling up with donated goods, everyone here has faith the island will bounce back.
"as a pueblo, we are a group of resilient people and faced with a challenge we roll up our sleeve, whether it for puerto rico or another country"
Hoping people continue calling Puerto Rico by it’s nickname “La Isla del Encanto” or “The island of Enchantment.”
The Puerto Rican Cultural Society of Charlotte is planning to host more fundraisers.
On September 24th, they will be at the Latin American Coalition, 4938 Central Avenue #1, Charlotte, NC. collecting diapers, medication, and first aid supplies, baby food, feminine products and batteries.
On September 30, they will be at the Hickory Grove United Methodist Church, 6401 Hickory Grove Road, Charlotte, NC. On October 1, they will be collecting donations at Punta Cana restaurant on South Boulevard and at Compare Foods on Arrowood Road and Sharon Amity Road.
The first lady of Puerto Rico Beatriz Rosello, also starting “The United for Puerto Rico” campaign, targeting business in the private sector to help get Puerto Rico back to normal as quickly as possible.