Local Puerto Ricans work to help those impacted by the earthquakes


ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Puerto Rico is still reeling from a series of strong earthquakes — putting more than 2,000 people in shelters and hundreds of thousands without water.

Now, local Puerto Ricans are doing what they can to help out.

Wanda Martinez-Johncox and a few others are collecting donations at various businesses around Rochester to support earthquake relief efforts.

She was part of the relief effort when Hurricane Marie hit and when Hurricane Dorian impacted the Bahamas.

“People are meeting me in the middle, by donating stuff,” Martinez-Johncox said.

“Now it’s my job to take it to people who are in need, to their hands. I’m not taking it to the government. I’m going to the mountains born and raised in Puerto Rico and I take this stuff right to their hands,”

Martinez-Johncox said she can’t rely on the government to give aid to the rural parts of the island and she is doing it herself.

Items that are being collected around town are:

  • water
  • tarps
  • ropes
  • sleeping bags
  • flashlights
  • batteries
  • tents

One of the locations collecting items is Equal Grounds Coffee in the South Wedge. “What really struck me were the elderly people outside of nursing homes, sitting in wheelchairs,” Co-Owner of Equal Grounds Coffee John White said.

“The news was talking about the aftershocks and I saw the aftershocks in those people’s eyes. The aftershocks are not just physical, but they’re mental.”

Martinez-Johncox leaves for Puerto Rico on Tuesday. Items can be donated at Equal Grounds Coffee, La Manita de Amando store off North Clinton Avenue or at Trillium Health off Monroe Avenue.

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