Odessa woman gathering donations to help Hurricane Maria victims

Odessa woman gathering donations to help Hurricane Maria victims

ODESSA, TX (KWES) - There's signs of help for food and water in Puerto Rico, an island of 3.5 million people. Hurricane Maria killed at least 10 people and its left the island waiting for power. For Katherine Torres, she hasn't heard from her family who live in Ponce since last week.

"Wednesday, we had communication with family members. After that, everything blacked out. No communication, nothing," said Torres. "The first days of last week were horrible, sitting, eating wondering if my family has food in their stomach. There's a lot of people that lost everything."

Although West Texas is out of the island's reach, Katherine decided to change that. That's why she's helping a non-profit in Houston called Puerto Rico Rises, where they have taken a call to gather as many donations as they can to bring to the island.

"We're horrified of this situation, of not getting a hold of the families to see if they need someone or something," said Torres.

The non-profit is coordinating with the government's efforts and United for Puerto Rico to make sure supplies are donated safely. But first, Torres will have to collect as many items as she could in West Texas before taking the deliveries down to the San Antonio distribution center.

"That is what makes me feel complete," said Torres. "Just to give in. God has given me a lot. I'm so grateful, why not give back to my community, to Puerto Rico, the people who need the most," she said.

She is holding a donation drive outside the Aladdin's Castle Learning Center on 1601 E 42nd Street in Odessa this Saturday from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. She hopes many West Texans can come together to help rebuild her hometown.

"Make sure you give a little bit of something," said Torres. "I'm going to make sure it will make a difference for everyone in Puerto Rico. Just a packet of water, 24 bottles for 24 people or 12 people. That makes a difference. For me, giving is what fulfills me."

The supplies needed are: bottled water, water filters, hand sanitzer, diapers, canned/dry food, baby formula, garbage bags, towels, canned milk, pet food, mosquito repellant, blankets, pillows, first aid kits, disinfectants, deodorant, dental hygiene supplies, generators, batteries, feminine products, portable cell phone charges, toilet paper, can openers and medicine (fever reducers, allergy medicine, triple antibiotic and itch cream).

Torres said the people helping from the warehouse in San Antonio, Francheska Rios and Coordinator Sam Lamboy are helping her make a change.

"Puerto Rico from West Texas, you are not alone! We will fight together to rebuild our beautiful island."

You can reach out to Katherine by e-mailing her here.

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