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More LI groups work on relief efforts for Puerto Rico

A man and child walk down street strewn

A man and child walk down street strewn with debris and downed power lines in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, in Yabucoa, Puerto Rico, Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2017. Credit: AP

Puerto Ricans on Long Island are partnering with more organizations to keep charity drives going as the devastation wrought by Hurricane Maria becomes clearer in Puerto Rico.

“The people are hungry, they are very frustrated and things are becoming very uncomfortable” for those dwelling in damaged homes, without electricity and clean water, said Melissa Figueroa, 37, a community organizer starting a relief effort this weekend in Nassau County.

Advocates linked to the Puerto Rican/Hispanic Day Parade in Brentwood had mobilized quickly to start their charity drive, but that collection has been concentrated in Central Islip.

Figueroa is working with nonprofit Círculo de la Hispanidad in Hempstead, the Nassau County Office of Minority Affairs and other groups on the new relief drive. They are asking for nonperishable food and water, children’s supplies from diapers to baby formula, first aid supplies and housewares. No glass items will be accepted due to shipping difficulties.

The drop-off location will be at 605 Peninsula Blvd. in Hempstead, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. this and the next two Saturdays, Oct. 7, 14 and 21, and from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday and the next two Sundays, Oct. 8, 15 and 22.

The Central Islip collection will continue through Oct. 15, with an emphasis on nonperishable food collected at the Teatro Yerbabruja Arts Center, of 63 Carleton Ave. in Central Islip. Saturday and Sunday hours will be from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. with a Wednesday collection from 12:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.

“We want to send it to the neediest” in Puerto Rico’s areas that haven’t been reached by government aid, said Renee Ortiz, one of the organizers.

A separate relief collection has been set up by the Long Island Hispanic Business Roundtable and the Town of Huntington, with donations of batteries, flashlights, portable lanterns, diapers, baby wipes, cases of water and feminine hygiene products going to the state’s relief effort. Donations will be accepted from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Friday, at 1264 New York Ave., in Huntington Station.

“There’s still a lot of need,” said Ed Perez, a relief organizer. “We want to make sure there are enough supplies going out to those American citizens, as long as it’s needed.”

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