Local businesses organize supply drive to help Puerto Rico relief effort

Damage from Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, Photo Date: 9/20/17
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - A group of Anchorage businesses is organizing a supply drive to help Puerto Rico recover from the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.

Anchorage Midtown Dental, Alaska Hearing & Tinnitus Center, and Bibbs Services are collecting things like canned food, bottled water, baby formula and more.

The supply drive was organized by Anchorage resident Michelle Bibbs, who hasn’t heard from her family in Puerto Rico in over a week. She said she felt helpless with her family in a disaster zone so far away, and wanted to do something to help the island recover.

“It’s really sad, because Puerto Rico is just so beautiful and that’s where my whole culture and family is from,” Bibbs told Channel 2. “Every time I go there, I feel like I’m at home even though I didn’t grow up there. So to see that it’s pretty much in shambles is like heartbreaking.”

Bibbs said she heard from her grandmother last Tuesday, just as the storm was approaching the island. Her grandfather, cousins and other relatives have been out of touch for even longer.

“My Grandpa was an engineer on the slope for years and they have solar panels,” Bibbs said. “I think the hardest part is not knowing what state their home is in, where they are, if they're even still home because some places were evacuated.”

The deadline for donations is October 6.

Editor's Note: KTUU has learned that the Alaska Air National Guard will not be shipping the supplies to Puerto Rico, as previously reported. Organizers say they are still trying to coordinate transportation of the supplies collected.

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