Durham church joins nationwide effort to provide aid to Puerto Rico
Posted October 15, 2017 7:25 p.m. EDT
Updated July 13, 2018 1:40 p.m. EDT
Durham, N.C. — A church in Durham has been collecting items for Hurricane victims in Puerto Rico for the past two weeks and took in the final donations Sunday.
Phillip Mejia said the majority of his family lives in Puerto Rico, but after Hurricane Maria hit, the island went dark.
“I didn’t have the chance to communicate with my family for like eight to 10 days,” he said.
Mejia worried about his mother, father and the rest of his family members who are scattered across the island.
“It was just a waiting point, like wait until they call me and see what the situation is exactly,” Mejia said.
The situation was dire and, weeks later, remains that way. Though they’ve gotten help, necessities are still hard to come by for many on the island.
“Groceries, you’re limited to only buying only 20 items, so imagine you are a big family and you only can buy 20 items,” Mejia said.
The lack of resources is why people across the country, including the World Mission Society Church of God in Durham, are teaming up to give back.
“It’s a multi-state drive from locations all the way from Boston all the way down to Florida, so a lot of those locations, a lot of companies have donated a lot of stuff,” said church member Michael Cardenas.
A Sunday luncheon to show appreciation for all the volunteers and donors was the finale of the collection drive and offered one last chance to make a donation.
“We’re going to be sending it over to our members directly in airplanes to Puerto Rico so our members in Puerto Rico will receive everything and from there they will distribute it to all the communities that they are in,” Cardenas said.
Those who signed the online guest book with receive an email to let them know when their donation arrives on the island.
“Just having the mindset that so many people all around the United States are putting the same mind to do it, I’m very, very happy at this point,” Mejia said.