Western Massachusetts continues to help Hurricane Maria victims

Nearly 100 tons of aid will be shipped in containers that will cost around $35,000

FILE - In this Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017 file photo, power lines are down after the impact of Hurricane Maria, which hit the eastern region of the island in Humacao, Puerto Rico. In the wake of Hurricane Maria, Facebook pledged to send a "connectivity team" to help restore communications in ravaged Puerto Rico. It's just one of several tech companies - among them Tesla, Google, Cisco, Microsoft and a range of startups - with their own disaster response proposals, most aimed at getting phone and internet service up and running. (AP Photo/Carlos Giusti, File)

(WWLP) – It’s been more than a month since Puerto Rico was crippled by Hurricane Maria, and western Massachusetts continues to step up, providing more than just aid.

Jorge Colon from United for Puerto Rico, told 22News, “We see the need that they have in Puerto Rico, because right now there are still a lot of people without water.”

And thanks to United for Puerto Rico, a coalition of several assisting organizations, more than 200,000 pounds of vital items are on the way to Puerto Rico from Centro Cristiano Nacion De Jesus on Sumner Ave in Springfield.

More than 40 volunteers, started collecting items right after the storm devastated the island, more than a month ago leaving many without basic necessities to this day.

The Puerto Rican government expects to restore power to about 25 percent of the population by the end of the month.

Colon said, “The supplies that they have is very limited, especially the area of the country side. There’s a lot of people who are getting sick because they’re drinking water that they shouldn’t be drinking, so this is going to be a big help.”

Nearly 100 tons of aid will be shipped in containers that will cost around $35,000. Once it reaches Puerto Rico, a crew of eight people from western Massachusetts will distribute every item by hand.

While items are leaving western Massachusetts heading to Puerto Rico, back here at home, people are preparing jobs, for those who are fleeing the island.

CareerPoint of Holyoke contacted hundreds of Springfield area employers, in an effort to hire about 1000 Spanish speaking employees coming in from Puerto Rico.

Mohammad Abdelghani, the owner of Imperial Super Grocery Store on State Street, told 22News, most of their customers speak Spanish, so it would help his business, “You need to hire the people who live here. You know they know better, they know their own. They help each other.”