How Arizonans can help those in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria

PHOENIX - "They're trying to pick up the pieces of what's left." 

Jennie Vega shows pictures of the street near her childhood home in Puerto Rico, a home where her parents still live. She says after Hurricane Maria struck, there's not much left.  

"They, unfortunately, lost their home, the roof blew off during the storm," she explains. 

RELATED: Arizona rescue team won't be going to Puerto Rico after hurricane hit

But Vega knows she's one of the lucky ones; she's at least heard from her family and has some answers. For others in the Valley like Mariene Diaz-Cruz, the pain of not knowing is agonizing. 

"Your mind goes 20 different ways," Diaz-Cruz said.    

She has her phone with her, clenched in her hands at all times, never putting it down. 

"Every morning, I wake up and I call every single one of my family members, hoping I can get through." 

RELATED: Trump plans to visit Puerto Rico after hurricane damage

But so far, she hasn't been able to. It's been a week and she's only been able to talk to a cousin, who thankfully is doing ok. But her sister, aunt, and so many others, she knows nothing about. 

There are many ways you can take action for the people in Puerto Rico, struggling after Hurricane Maria. 

To help send phone chargers so loved ones can communicate with those in Puerto Rico, click here to donate to a fundraising effort going on in the Valley. 

Items you can donate include: 

  • Bottled water
  • Soap
  • Deodorant 
  • Toothpaste
  • First aid kits
  • Batteries
  • Diapers
  • Baby wipes
  • Toilet paper
  • Canned food
  • Garbage bags
  • Blankets
  • Pillows
  • Towels
  • Canned milk
  • Flashlights
  • Radios
  • Gas lamps
  • Can openers
  • Bandages 
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Lysol wipes
  • Paper towels
  • Duct tape
  • Shampoo 

Here is a list of Valley locations collecting items through Friday: 

Sweet Land Cakes
4747 E. Thomas Rd. 
Phoenix, AZ

Millie's Cafe
1916 W. Baseline #10 
Mesa, AZ

NYC Beauty Salon 
1616 E. Main St. 
Mesa, AZ 

Fair Trade Cafe
1020 N. 1st Ave. 
Phoenix, AZ

Latin Puerto Rican Grill 
2714 W. Thomas Rd. 
Phoenix, AZ 

RELATED: 3 storms, 3 responses: Comparing Harvey, Irma and Maria

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