Manchester bakery whips up donations for Puerto Rico - WFSB 3 Connecticut


Manchester bakery whips up donations for Puerto Rico

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The Sol de Borinquen in Manchester is collected donations for Puerto Rico. (WFSB) The Sol de Borinquen in Manchester is collected donations for Puerto Rico. (WFSB)

Federal agencies continue to ramp up their responses to the humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico in the wake of Hurricane Maria.

Millions of U.S. citizens in the territory remain without adequate supplies of food, water and fuel.

Tuesday, the Sol de Borinquen Bakery Jr. on Main Street in Manchester, CT said it wanted to do its part to help those in need.

Carlos Ortiz, the bakery's owner, said he is collecting donations of water, flashlights, non-perishable food items, diapers, clean clothing and other items.

"I love the island, it's a very beautiful place to be," Ortiz said.

Ortiz was born in Ponce, Puerto Rico and moved to the U.S. in the 1980s. However, he said the island will always be his home.

"There's a song that says, no matter if I was born on the moon, I'm still Puerto Rican," he said.

Ortiz said he has dozens of family members on the island and has only heard from a few of them. There's no power, roads are washed out and supplies are dwindling.

"It's been really horrifying that from anything from them," he said. "We don't know what their conditions are, what's the condition there, if they have water, food.

Ortiz said most of his immediate family there is over 85 years old.

This comes as officials called the situation in Puerto Rico called the situation post-Maria "more desperate."

Democrats characterized the federal response as too little and too slow.

Republican President Donald Trump insisted that food, water and medical supplies are top priorities.

Still, Puerto Rico's governor said he's grateful for the assistance the island has received so far.

"We need to step up for the people who are in need down there," Ortiz said.

Within minutes of opening his doors on Tuesday, a woman dropped off his bag of supplies, cases of water bottles and other items. More donors followed suit.

The first truckload of donations from the bakery went out on Saturday.

Ortiz and several other volunteers loaded up a truck and drove it to Foxwoods Resort Casino. It joined other trucks with donations that were packed with necessities and transported down to New York, where it will all be taken to Puerto Rico.

"We are doing so great here, we are blessed, but our people they are not doing so well," said Lydia Dingui of East Hartford. "So, we need to help! Anything counts!"

Ortiz said he's even been taking phone calls from people wondering how they can be part of the effort.

He said shipments will go out weekly.

"If it was for Texas, we did it for Texas," Ortiz said. "If it was Puerto Rico, Cuba, we're all humans. We'll do whatever needs to be done."

He said donations can be dropped off at the bakery from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

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