Local relief efforts continue in support of Puerto Rico following Hurricane Fiona

Salvation Army officials told us that they have volunteers stationed in the hardest hit areas of Puerto Rico to help people through this tragedy.
Published: Oct. 3, 2022 at 10:22 PM EDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB/WSHM) - While people in Florida and the Carolinas are still picking up the pieces left behind by Hurricane Ian, those in Puerto Rico still need assistance in the wake of Fiona as they face widespread destruction.

Salvation Army officials told us that they have volunteers stationed in the hardest hit areas of Puerto Rico to help people through this tragedy.

“We were there before the storm,” said Salvation Army officer Emmanuel Villegas. “We were there through the storm, and we will be there after the storm.”

Salvation Army volunteers are still hard at work, helping those devastated by Hurricane Fiona in Puerto Rico.

“Right now, we are over the 50,000 meal mark,” Villegas told us. “We have been providing drinks, snacks, and lunch, but also, we have been providing emotional spiritual care for those we have encountered.”

Villegas told Western Mass News that he arrived on the island about a week ago, and their efforts have been going well. He said that it is difficult for those in the suburbs to get around, so volunteers have been hand delivering meals across the island.

“We’re talking about over 2,000 meals a day, ranging from Maya West all the way to San Juan and down to Humacao,” he said.

In addition to food, Villegas said that people are in need of cleaning kits as well as hygiene essentials.

“One of the things that we’re doing is trying to buy local to help boost the local economy,” he told us.

Locally, efforts have been underway to help hard-hit Puerto Rico.

“One of the biggest efforts that we were pushing for was for the release of this infrastructure money that the president announced today, which is a huge victory for us and a huge victory for Puerto Rico,” said State Representative Orlando Ramos. “This money will go a long way to making Puerto Rico more resilient for future hurricanes.”

Representative Ramos said that it is important to get involved in helping the island recover.

“There’s a huge population, here in the city of Springfield, of Puerto Ricans, families and many students in our public school systems, and so, there’s a direct correlation between the Puerto Rican economy and the economy here in the city of Springfield, and it affects us here directly, whether we realize it or not,” he explained.

He is encouraging people to donate financially to organizations on the ground in Puerto Rico. You can now donate to the Salvation Army online.

Meanwhile, Gray Television and Western Mass News are teaming up with the Salvation Army to help raise funds for those impacted by Hurricane Ian. Text “STORM” to 51555 to donate.

On Tuesday, October 4th, we will be bringing you special coverage with our local Salvation Army teams to show you how your donations will make an impact. It all starts at 7 a.m.