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How the Lowcountry can help Hurricane Maria victims in Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico flag (WCIV)

Officials are calling the devastation in Puerto Rico a humanitarian crisis, as millions there currently have no drinking water or electricity.

There are thousands of people with FEMA on the island providing the basic necessities, but there’s also ways to help in the Lowcountry.

Tanya Altagracia considers herself lucky. Just four days after Hurricane Maria slammed into Puerto Rico, she actually received word from her family.

“The first message I received from my son was ‘we’re okay. Total destruction’,” said Altagracia.

Born and raised in Puerto Rico, she’s the only one in her family now living in the states. She said her family, like millions of others, thought they had enough supplies for the storm.

“They got ready but they weren’t expecting it to be for months to come,” Altagracia said. “What we consider here in the states, we prepare for a week. But even the people that prepare for a week are now standing in line for six hours to buy groceries and when they get there, they close because they are empty.”

Altagracia is part of the Puerto Rican Cultural Society of South Carolina. With the group, she’s efforting a donation drive to send to Puerto Rico. They’re asking for essentials.

For the average person, getting supplies there is not easy, but she said thanks to the volunteers and community with the Army Reserves in Charleston, what seemed like mission impossible, is now possible.

“They are going to go ahead and take care of it for us and fly it to Puerto Rico and give it to FEMA,” she said. “Right now nobody can just go and send to a particular person, everything goes to FEMA and FEMA will then take it to wherever it needs to be.”

The donation drive runs from September 26th through October 7th.

“There’s 3.5 million Puerto Ricans on the island and eight million off the island, and I have no doubt that we’re all going to pull together and take care of our people and take care of our families,” said Altagracia.

At this moment FEMA is encouraging donations of the following items:

  • Baby food/formula
  • Baby and adult diapers
  • Baby wipes
  • Feminine Products
  • Over-the-Counter medication
  • Batteries (no lithium)
  • Bug repellant spray (no aerosol)
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Disinfectant wipes
  • Trash bags
  • Bottled water
  • Dog and cat food

Drop-off locations are as follows:

WEST ASHLEY

  • Stella Nova, 2048 Sam Rittenberg Blvd.

DOWNTOWN CHARLESTON

  • Barrelli Barber, 701 East Bay St., Suite 107 (by Cigar Factory)
  • Smoke BBQ, 487 King St.

GOOSE CREEK

  • Goose Creek Rural Fire Station, 907 Red Bank Rd.
  • CubeSmart, 102 South Goose Creek Blvd.

SUMMERVILLE

  • Simply Fit, 622 Old Trolley Rd.
    M-F, 5-7 p.m.

NORTH CHARLESTON

  • Deep River Church of God (Iglesia de Dios Nuevo Comienzo), 8190 Dorchester Rd.
    Saturday 8 a.m.-3 p.m.
  • Select Fitness, 7671 Northwoods Blvd.
    Sat, 9-11 a.m.; M-F 9 a.m.-10 p.m.
  • Pollo Loko Restaurant, 5335 Dorchester Rd.
    Tues-Sun, 11 a.m.-7 p.m.

MOUNT PLEASANT

  • Stella Nova, 1320 Theater Dr.
  • Smoke BBQ, 713 Coleman Blvd.
  • Powerzone, 497 La Mesa Rd.
    Tues. & Thurs, 6:30-7:30 p.m.; Saturday 9-10 a.m.

Online donations can be made by clicking HERE.

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