Posted at 6:02 PM, Sep 21, 2017
"While many in Southwest Florida are busy cleaning up after Hurricane Irma, others are turning their attention to helping Puerto Ricans devastated by Hurricane Maria.
"They need the help right now," said Yvette Benarroch of Marco Island. "They have nothing, it's horrible."
Benarroch, who is originally from Puerto Rico, said the island hadn't yet quite recovered from Irma when Maria hit with 155 mph winds, wiping out much of the electrical and water supply infrastructure that Irma had left intact.
Maria also brought severe flooding to Puerto Rico. Benarroch said her aunts barely survived.
"The river came into their home, and thank God the neighbors were able to get them out during the hurricane," she said. "They had to pull them out with ropes because the winds were so bad."
With no power, and streets blocked or flooded, communication from the island is severely limited.
"People are desperate to hear if everybody's OK," Benarroch said. "We know what hurricanes can do to the island, so we know it's total devastation."
She said supplies there are low, and that survival will be difficult without rescue missions.
"Food, water, generators," she said. "Anything and everything. I mean they're going to need everything."
Benarroch is working with a group called Marco Patriots, who had already been organizing supply runs to areas in Southwest Florida hit hard by Hurricane Irma. Now, they're turning their attention to Puerto Rico.
"We just a trailer full of supplies - water, tarps, generators, baby items and food - down to Marathon, where it will be loaded onto a C-130 and taken to Puerto Rico," said Erin Milchman of Marco Patriots.
"We appreciate all the help we can get, because it's total devastation there," said Benarroch.
Anyone who wants to send or drop off supplies for Puerto Rico through Marco Patriots should use this address:
1994 Sheffield Avenue, Marco Island FL 34145
You can also find Marco Patriots on Facebook."