BURLINGTON, NC -- Three weeks removed from Hurricane Maria, millions of people on the island of Puerto Rico are still without power.
The storm destroyed homes, flooded streets, and killed dozens of people.
While many people have moved on, for some people in the Triad with family in Puerto Rico, the crisis is still urgent.
One Burlington woman is taking matters in to her own hands to help her family stuck on the island.
"I heard it was going to be devastating,” said Clarita Rossi. “I had no idea it was going to be this bad."
Clarita Rossi lives in Burlington now but her parents and her whole family is from Puerto Rico.
Right now, Rossi says her heart is hurting after seeing her family and millions of others still reeling from the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.
"While this was happening I've been eating and not thinking,” said Rossi. “Just eating all the wrong things from the stress."
Rossi has barely been able to contact her family in San Hermana since the storm hit.
"It's been very hard because I can't speak to them,” said Rossi. “I don't really know firsthand what they're really going through."
Along with volunteers at St. Mark’s Church in Burlington, Rossi is organizing a collection drive.
They’re gathering food, supplies, and money for victims in Puerto Rico.
Angela Presley with St. Mark’s Church says they’ve already done similar drives for hurricane victims in Florida and Texas.
“We know that these individuals have lost so much. There is no way that we could possibly replenish everything that they have lost,” said Presley. “But if there is something we would love to do, it would be to give hope and to extend the love of Jesus to them and let them know that they are not forgotten.”
Together they've already raised more than $23,000 and collected enough supplies to fill three cargo vans.
Since Rossi works for the Alamance Burlington School System, they’ve even gotten students involved in the effort.
Kids from the school system have written personalized messages of inspiration to send to the victims in Puerto Rico.
“Ever since this started I felt like I needed to do something. I've never done anything like this but I felt like I had to do something since I can't be there, I can help from here,” said Rossi.
There are two ways you can help if you want to get involved:
1). Make a financial donation to St. Mark’s Church disaster relief fund which will then go to Samaritan’s Purse.
2). You can donate canned goods and supplies between now and October 22.
Items will be shipped out in small loads, one week at a time, through the help of Fastenal and Samaritan's Purse to those in need in Puerto Rico.
For more information, contact Angela Presly at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 336-584-8983.
Donations can be dropped off at St. Mark's Church, 1230 St. Mark's Church Road, Burlington, NC 27215.
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