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Palm Beach County community comes together to continue to help Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands

Posted: 7:11 PM, Nov 12, 2017
Updated: 2017-11-13 04:57:01-05

Weeks after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, people in Palm Beach County are still working to get hurricane victims much needed supplies.

“There are a lot of people in remote areas that still don’t have access to clean water, don’t have medicine that they need or food, so we don’t want to forget our fellow American citizens,” said Katherine Waldron, co-founder of Palm Beach County Cares.

Pallets of water, canned food, baby diapers, dog food, medical supplies and more are lined up in a warehouse in the Port of Palm Beach to go to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands in the next week. 

A brand-new group called Palm Beach County Cares formed five weeks ago to help hurricane victims.

"Literally over breakfast and it just really blossomed," Waldron said.

Then, many other people got on board, including elected leaders, businesses and non-profits to gather, organize and transport donated supplies.

"I got a call that said we need somebody to join us and I said yes," Palm Beach Gardens Mayor Maria Marino said.

Palm Beach County Cares already shipped thousands of pounds of donated goods by plane to Puerto Rico and via a shipping container to the U.S. Virgin Islands.

"We’ll probably have gotten 200,000 pounds of supplies out to these islands, which you know they’re still rebuilding and it’s not a good situation there," Waldron said.

"People that just volunteered their time and their efforts and money," Mayor Marino said. "However they could, they donated."

The University of Puerto Rico and the Puerto Rican Rotary Club ensure the supplies go directly to people in need. 

"They take their trucks and they go out in remote areas to give nursing homes, orphanages and schools the supplies and they send us pictures and video back, which has been great for our supporters just to see that," Waldron said.

Sunday was the last day for donations to Palm Beach County Cares, but if people still want to help, they can go through the Puerto Rican Hispanic Chamber of Commerce for Palm Beach County.

“I think everybody can walk away who was part of this effort and feel like they really accomplished something because we have made a difference in people’s lives," Waldron said.

Greenacres Community Center and Badcock Home Furniture are also collecting donations.