JAMESTOWN – Supermarkets are gradually re-opening in hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico, but the situation is far from normal and many customers are going home disappointed.
A week after Hurricane Maria ravaged the U.S. territory, most food stores and restaurants remain closed. That is largely because power is out for most of the island and few have generators or enough diesel to power them. The shops that were open Monday had long lines outside and vast empty shelves where they once held milk, meat and other perishables. Drinking water was nowhere to be found.
In Jamestown, several groups are working to collect supplies and donations and then send them to island. The Hispanic Community Council of Chautauqua County is collecting food, supplies and money to help the residents of Puerto Rico.
In a Facebook post from Sunday night, the council is encouraging are residents to donate anything from clothing, diapers, bottled water, and baby food as well as batteries, flashlights and other emergency items. Council representative Miguel Correa-Ortiz of Jamestown offered more details.
“They can bring the donations to either the Salvation Army or the American Red Cross and other Churches in the area, including the one in Russell at the Praise Fellowship,” Correa-Ortiz said. “Any donation is fine and we will be very happy as the Puerto Rican Community.”
Items can also be dropped off at two locations in Chautauqua County including the the Iglesia Nueva Vida (New Life Church) at 502 Spring Street in Jamestown.
Correa-Ortize also offered an update on how Puerto Rican residents are holding up in the days following the storm, saying that many are still without electricity or means of communication.
“There are some provisional cell phone towers right now that will facilitate the island locally that will connect the mayors of each municipality, which is very important. There’s a region in the central area of the island that has a hospital and they have electricity. FEMA is doing a fabulous job in establishing all the generators that we need, especially in the hospitals.”
The council has set up a square-up page for monetary donations.
Jamestown Fire Fighters are also collecting water that will be sent to Puerto Rico. Both today and Wednesday there will be a collection of water at the Morton Club on Pratt Avenue from 1 to 7 p.m.