ROCHESTER, NY – The aftermath of Hurricane Fiona has left many Puerto Ricans in need of support. And nearly a month after the natural disaster, members of the Rochester community continue to give their all to show their support.
“Unfortunately, when tragedies like this happen, it hampers our community,” said Irene Sanchez, founder of Puertorriquenos United in the Distance. “But at the same time, it gives us the opportunity to come together and help.”
Several organizations in the city have partnered with Puertortiquenos United in the Distance for Unidos for a Cause, a fundraiser that will help the Team Cuca Foundation provide humanitarian aid to Puerto Rico.
“They’re going to buy supplies from small businesses that have been affected and those same supplies are going to be distributed on the island,” Sanchez said.
But the event is also meant to provide support to members of the Rochester community who have family on the island.
“I’m from Puerto Rico, I was born and raised,” said Hilda Rosario Escher, former CEO of the Ibero American Action League. “Some of my family members live in Orocovis, which was affected. Some of them still don’t have electricity, which is really bad.
The fundraising event included food, music and performances that united community members around their support for the island and their desire to help.
“Everyone here today is a volunteer,” Sanchez said. “So it shows how amazing it is and how big the heart is[ed] our community is.
And volunteers not only work to help families in Puerto Rico, but also those who moved to Rochester after losing their homes in the hurricane.
“Irene and I were helping a family that came, with coats and boots, just you know, basic necessities,” Rosario Escher said. “Because when they come here they have nothing and they don’t speak the language.”
“There are a lot of Puerto Ricans coming in right now and we’re letting them know you’re not alone,” Sanchez said. ” We can help you. We can help you.”