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Bus company collects donations for Puerto Rico

Pitching in for Puerto Rico.

Posted Updated

Matt McFarland
WATERBURY, CT — Pitching in for Puerto Rico.

A Waterbury bus company with close ties to the island has water and food for those in need, but they first need to find a way to get it to the hard hit region.

It started as a simple Facebook post last week to help Puerto Rico and quickly spread among the bus drivers and throughout the city of Waterbury, with people stopping by with donations.

"I'm just humbled by it. It's beautiful, a beautiful gesture from everybody, and the whole community," said Ruben Zapata, of Durham School Services in Waterbury.

While his heart breaks for his homeland Puerto Rico, he's not alone.

More than 60 percent of the 163 employees at the company are either from Puerto Rico or still have relatives there.

"A lot of family in ponce and they need a lot of food and water. Most of them lost their house," said Rosa Acevedo, of Durham School Services.

After Hurricane Maria hit, they quickly got to work.

"Drivers came in right after the storm, everyone was devastated about it and my manager said, why don't we do a stuff a bus, lets focus on something positive, try to help out," said Lydia Colon, of Durham School Services.

They not only stuffed one bus, but two, and then after putting a post on Facebook, donations started pouring in.

"The great city of Waterbury ran with it and this is the outcome we've gotten," Colon said.

They even admit it got a little out of hand, never imagining the response would be like this.

Now they need to get it there.

A local company has donated a tractor-trailer to transport it to an airport, and they've reached out to the Hispanic coalition and even FEMA.

"We're working closely with the city, we're working with the state also. We're reaching out to anyone that can help us. We got it, now let's get it there," Colon said.

"We just hope that it gets to Puerto Rico as soon as possible, because there's a lot of people in dire straits," Zapata said.

The bus drivers will hold a stuff a bus this weekend at six locations across the brass city.

Meanwhile, Gov. Dannel Malloy is advising people if they want to donate, money is your best bet because, with the devastation, it's hard to get supplies to the island and also store them.

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