The Central Florida community showed its generous support for the ongoing relief efforts for Puerto Rico, filling six 24-foot box trucks with 51 pallets of donated items at the "Blessings for Puerto Rico" collection drive. The items, including 40,000 prepackaged meals, bottled water and baby supplies, will arrive on the island later this week.
Residents from across Central Florida gathered at Calvary Orlando Church in Winter Park to donate their items. Florida Hospital, in partnership with Cox Media Group Orlando and the Florida Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, coordinated the drive and will facilitate transport of the critically needed items to the hurricane-ravaged island.
"The television and radio properties of Cox Media Group are honored to be partners with our friends at Florida Hospital to help in the recovery efforts in Puerto Rico stemming from Hurricane Maria," said Paul Curran, market vice president for CMG Orlando. "Central Florida is home to the largest Puerto Rican community in the United States, and not only have people on the island been impacted by this historic storm, but so have their loved ones locally. Our hope is that Sunday's community relief effort will help provide some comfort to our fellow citizens here and in Puerto Rico."
Florida Hospital hopes to fill several 45-foot shipping containers with supplies, which will then be distributed in Puerto Rico by the Adventist Development and Relief Agency. The shipping containers will then be converted into housing in Puerto Rico.
"Puerto Rico has suffered the impact of two major hurricanes, and as a result now they're facing life-threatening situations. The need is unimaginable, and as Central Floridians we need to do all we can to help our brothers and sisters on the island," said Daryl Tol, president and CEO of Florida Hospital and Central Florida Division - Adventist Health System. "Our community can have a great impact when we come together in service to our neighbors."
The list of needed items was created by the Florida Hospital emergency physicians who have been on the island for more than a week, in conjunction with response agencies and health care organizations. The doctors continue to provide critical care and assistance to local physicians, while also assessing the island's overall health needs.
The Blessings for Puerto Rico collection drive couldn't have been possible without the support of all of our partners, including Calvary Church, Pizzeria Uno, My Neighbor's Children, Hand to Hand, Hi-Tide, Hand in Hand Soap, John Young Elementary, an anonymous pilot an Florida Hospital supporter, Cheryl Bartch, COX Media Group Orlando, more than 200 volunteers and all those who graciously donated items.