Elizabeth Figueroa, who spent the early years of her life on Puerto Rico, was horrified when she saw pictures of the destruction wrought by Hurricane Maria.
So she and other volunteers gathered in the basement of Foxboro Unitarian Universalist Church recently to package 11 boxes of donated clothing, diapers, toys and other vitally needed supplies.
The boxes, donated by church and community members, are the first of a continuing flow of relief supplies Figueroa and other helpers are planning to send to the beleaguered island.
Figueroa, who lived during her childhood in the town of San Lorenzo, still has family and friends there.
“In San Lorenzo, there’s a lot of damage,” she said. “There’s a lot of debris, most of the poles are down and there’s still flooding.”
Running water is still non-existent. Residents have to go into town to get supplies.
Some houses have been blown down by Maria’s fierce winds.
Parts of Puerto Rico received 30 inches of rain in one day, and tornado-like winds resulted in catastrophic damage to homes, businesses and the island’s infrastructure.
The strong winds even destroyed the National Weather Service’s sensors on the island.
Long after Maria passed through, there is no electricity and cell phone service is unavailable on the island. The widespread destruction has placed increased emphasis on the need for donations and relief supplies.
Figueroa and her friends say they plan to keep soliciting donations that they can turn around and relay to Puerto Rico.
Figueroa can be reached at her Facebook page under Foxboro Discussion or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org