MARIETTA, Ga. - It started with just a few Georgia families who wanted to send goods to their loved ones ravaged by Hurricane Maria, and then grew quickly into a social media movement that brought out the best of metro Atlantans.
“Whenever you have a disaster like this, you have to come together as a community and a country and help each other out. That's what it's all about, “said Val Barnhart of Atlanta, who dropped off a car full of diapers and canned goods at the donation center on Margan Drive in Atlanta.
A group of small business owners quickly assembled--calling the mission "Puerto Ricovery." Doug Marranci, the director of operations Prep Atlanta, offered storage for items dropped off at a restaurant in Smyrna and a theater in downtown Marietta. And the supplies just kept coming in all day, every day. Now, there are literally shipping crates full of the items needed to help folks on the American island recover and rebuild after Hurricane Maria.
“We have hygiene items, first aid products, anything over the counter like aspirin, Band-Aids, alcohol, hydrogen peroxide and canned food, dog food, and pet food,” said Antonio Lozada of Puerto Ricovery.
But the organizers admit they were not expecting so many donations. They told FOX 5’s Portia Bruner they need a donation of warehouse space to get the items packed up according to FEMA standards.
“We need space where we can just put them in boxes and get them ready for shipping for Puerto Rico and also we need pallets and boxes and shrink wrap and tape,” said Dennis Horns of Puerto Ricovery.
Raul Thomas, who is coordinating the group’s shipping efforts, said the donations received have far surpassed their shipping budget.
“We thought that it was just going to be one airline that was going out, now we have so much stuff that's going out that we can use as much help as possible with trucks to get items from the drop-off points to Prep Atlanta and from Prep Atlanta to Puerto Rico.
More than 40,000 pounds of goods have already been shipped just this week alone and the folks here Puerto Ricovery are confident with a little more help from the public they will be able to get all of the items to the folks in Puerto Rico who need them most.
For more information on how to help, visit facebook.com/puertoricovery.