Local relief effort underway to help those impacted by Maria - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Local relief effort underway to help those impacted by Maria

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Efforts in Hartford are underway to help those impacted by the recent natural disasters. (WFSB) Efforts in Hartford are underway to help those impacted by the recent natural disasters. (WFSB)

Puerto Ricans make up nearly 8 percent of Connecticut population and that number grows when people enter melting pots such as Hartford.

Crews try to assess the damage left from Hurricane Maria, Hartford officials continue to coordinate relief efforts.

 Because the population is so high, there's a good chance that a donation made from Hartford could help a relative of theirs or someone they know.

People at Hartford's City Hall on Friday morning raised their hands to show who has not spoken to relatives in either Puerto Rico, Mexico or the Caribbean after the natural disasters struck those areas.

Nearly 40 percent of Hartford’s population is made up of Puerto Ricans. It's the fifth highest in the country, so Mayor Luke Bronin said the sampling size at Hartford's City Hall mirrors the fears of the rest of the city.

“There are thousands of Hartford families, who even today, have not even heard from their loved ones,” Bronin said.

From the comfort of their living rooms, family members in Connecticut could see the widespread devastation. But, because power has been lost, they can't communicate with their loved ones’ miles away. The methods people such as Gene Holloway are using to see if their families are OK is like finding a needle in a haystack. 

“The only method of finding out what's going on is hoping to see someone drive past your family's home, video recording what's happening, and hopefully you see your house or your family's house still standing,” Holloway said.

With minds on their loved ones, local leaders with relatives directly impacted are looking to make a direct impact on their own. Speaking of Puerto Rico, Mexico and the Caribbean, they're looking to streamline donations through the Red Cross or the United for Puerto Rico website. 

“When power is so disrupted, sometimes transporting those goods can be challenging and a financial contribution is the best way to help,” Bronin said.

Fundraisers are also being planned by locals. One is in on the Meriden Green at 6 p.m. on Friday. On Saturday, there is another fundraiser at Library Park in Waterbury at 11 a.m. On Oct. 1, there is a fundraiser at Center of Latino Progress in Hartford from noon to 7 p.m.  

Organizers said they are doing all they can to help while trying to keep their minds from worrying. 

“I'm hoping I can go into Facebook anytime and see a message or something from my family,” state Rep. Angel Arce-(D-Hartford) said. “But, I haven't.”  

The American Red Cross is coordinating efforts to re-establish a connection with victims. The number is 1-800-733-2767, but be warned, it could take days. People can also text donations to the American Red Cross by texting UNITY to 41444.

For more information on the American Red Cross, click here.

To learn more about the Connecticut State Office for Hispanic Federation, click here

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