Churches raising money to transport hurricane relief supplies to Puerto Rico

TAUNTON, Mass. (WPRI) — Two churches in Taunton have collected canned goods, bottled water, toilet paper and other necessities to send to their partner church in Puerto Rico. Now, they just have to raise the money to get the supplies down to the island devastated two months ago by Hurricane Maria.

The donations – including six pallets of bottled water – are piling up in the basement of First Parish Church.

“The community has responded tremendously,” said Angela Echevarria, a member of Iglesia de Cristo Misionera of Taunton, which rents space in First Parish Church.

Echevarria – who is originally from Puerto Rico – said the goal is to get the supplies directly to their partner church.

“They know what the people need and they are willing to work with the people in bringing supplies to them to survive. Because this is all to survive. We are not asking for extras. It’s the amount that is needed to survive each day,” she said.

Now that they have the supplies, the focus has shifted to getting enough money to get them to storm victims.

“We will send this the moment we have the funds,” First Parish Church Rev. Christana Wille McKnight said, adding that the two churches have so far raised roughly $2,000 of the $4,000 needed.

McKnight said they are moved by the number of donations and hope to be able to send them soon.

“I think that it is our duty, as human beings and as citizens and as people of faith, to help people who are experiencing these terrible tragedies. I’m really glad that so many people in the community have stepped up. I’m not surprised. This is a very giving community, but I’m really, really glad we’ve been able to be a part of it.

As for Echevarria, she knows firsthand what the people of Puerto Rico are dealing with. She moved to Massachusetts when she was 12 after her family was displaced by tropical storm damage.

“It’s quite devastating because I can still remember. It’s not only devastating, it’s traumatic too for people,” said Echevarria.

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