New Bedford collects countless donations for hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico

NEW BEDFORD, Mass. (WPRI) – Tons of donations poured into the New Bedford Police Department on Wednesday to provide relief for people in Puerto Rico affected by Hurricane Maria.

New Bedford police and firefighters, along with United New Bedford and the Bristol County Sheriff’s Office, held a “fill the truck” event Wednesday evening.

“Focusing on one goal, being on one accord, and it’s Puerto Rico,” Edwin Cartagena of United New Bedford said. “Not only bringing aid and relief to Puerto Rico but just providing hope here at home.”

Many of the volunteers have family on the island impacted by Hurricane Maria themselves.

“My brother told me that my mom and dad are okay but I have not spoken to them,” Esther Martinez of New Bedford said.

Organizers say the amount of donations has been overwhelming and they’re committed to sending their support.

“It’s going to take years to rebuild,” Martinez said.

For those here in New Bedford, whose thoughts are miles away in Puerto Rico, the efforts were just what they needed to see.

“Sometimes just when you start giving up, something like this takes place and it’s all worth it,” Detective Gene Fortes of the New Bedford Police Department said.

New Bedford police say the items collected will be sent to Puerto Rico by boat or plane.