Supplies from Massachusetts on its way to Puerto Rico

Donated goods distributed to hurricane survivors by disaster relief organizations

(Courtesy: Sean Martin)

FRAMINGHAM, MA (MEMA) – The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) today will begin loading pallets of donated goods onto trucks to be transported to Florida, and later shipped to Puerto Rico to support hurricane relief efforts. In total, 229 pallets of canned goods and non-perishable foods, bottled water, baby formula and diapers, flashlights, batteries and personal hygiene products will be shipped to Puerto Rico and distributed to disaster survivors. An additional 35 pallets of goods will be distributed to food banks in Massachusetts that are supporting evacuees from Puerto Rico.

“Massachusetts is proud to send donated goods to Puerto Rico as another form of support for hurricane relief efforts,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “The Commonwealth continues to provide personnel and resources to assist those recovering from devastating hurricanes in Puerto Rico, and disasters across the nation.”

“Community and faith-based organizations across the state collected these donated goods to help the hurricane survivors in Puerto Rico,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “We continue to take steps to help those impacted by recent natural disasters and urge everyone who wants to help support disaster relief operations do so through cash donations to organizations listed on the state’s website.”

The 264 pallets of goods were donated at community events in Framingham, Holyoke, Lawrence, Southbridge, and Springfield. The goods were collected by the Massachusetts National Guard and delivered to a MEMA-operated warehouse in Worcester which has been generously donated for use by Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI). At the warehouse, the donated goods were sorted and packaged for transport by MEMA employees, volunteers, and a donations management team from Adventist Community Services.

Today, the first two trucks, which are being provided at no cost to the Commonwealth by Teamsters Local 25, will load donated goods and depart for Florida. Trucks from a transportation company will transport additional pallets of donated goods from the warehouse in Worcester to a FEMA facility in Florida starting today and throughout the week. Once in Florida, the donated goods will be shipped to Puerto Rico via cargo ship. No additional donations are being collected for shipment as part of this operation.

“This operation would not have happened without the generosity, donations, and efforts of many organizations and companies who helped collect, transport, organize, and warehouse these donated goods,” said Secretary of Public Safety Dan Bennett. “I thank the Teamsters Local 25, WPI, UMASS Medical School, Adventist Community Services, Boston Cares, and many others who donated time, space, personnel and supplies that were instrumental in this effort.”

“Teamsters Local 25 will continue its commitment to help the strong and resilient people of Puerto Rico who are enduring heartbreaking challenges this holiday season,” said Teamsters Local 25 President Sean M. O’Brien. “We are proud to support Governor Baker and the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency by transporting these relief supplies donated by so many caring people from across this great Commonwealth. This is truly a delivery from the heart.”

“MEMA is proud to support hurricane relief efforts by moving these donated goods to hurricane survivors in Puerto Rico,” said MEMA Director Kurt Schwartz. “In addition to the transportation of these donated goods, the Baker-Polito administration has deployed response and recovery personnel to Puerto Rico and is helping support thousands of self-evacuees from Puerto Rico who have sought residence in the Commonwealth.”

In addition to the warehouse space donated by WPI, a forklift and operator were donated by the UMASS Medical School, a volunteer donations management team from Adventist Community Services oversaw the packing of the goods, and volunteers were provided by Boston Cares. Additional support and supplies were donated by Worcester Emergency Management, MassDOT, Gentle Giant, Staples, Creedon & Company, Inc., United Parcel Service, E.L. Harvey & Sons, Inc., The Home Depot, Sitterly Movers, MSC Industrial Supply Company, Dunkin’ Donuts, Shaws, and Walmart. MEMA thanks all agencies, companies, organizations, and staff assisting with this operation.

MEMA continues to look for opportunities to offer personnel, equipment and resources to Puerto Rico and other areas impacted by recent disasters.