Louisvillians step up to help Puerto Rico

Louisvillians step up to help Puerto Rico
Nancy Davila (Source: WAVE 3 News)
Nancy Davila (Source: WAVE 3 News)
WaterStep needs more funds to send more filters. (Source: WAVE 3 News)
WaterStep needs more funds to send more filters. (Source: WAVE 3 News)

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Ten days after Hurricane Maria, many on the island of Puerto Rico are still facing desperate times. The Puerto Rican community in Louisville says family members lack basic supplies, and distributing donations is a problem.

Those raising money suggest going through reputable organizations like United for Puerto Rico. One organization sending equipment says they are leveraging corporate connections to get water to people.

"My flag may be damaged right now, but it's not dead," Nancy Davila said.

Davila is a local teacher who says her students and coworkers at Hawthorne elementary are strengthening her hope.

"A student told me, 'Señora Davila this is all I have in my piggy bank but I want to share it with Puerto Rico,'" Davila said.

Scrapping together allowances, the students raised over $1,300 to help with hurricane relief.

Millions on the island remain without electricity and government officials say more help is needed.

"They don't have food and they don't have enough water," Davila said.

Thousands of containers full of supplies are stuck at ports because of distribution blockage, a shortage of diesel, or governmental restrictions.

"Because water is so vital and so important, it has urged us to make sure that we are avoiding some of these common trails that sometimes get locked up in," Mark Hogg said.

Mark Hogg, the CEO of WaterStep, is partnering with GE Appliances to send 20 water units to the island.

Operating on solar energy and car batteries, each filter will create thousands of gallons of water per day.

"I can't tell you enough how critical our Puerto Rican community has been in making a lot of these logistical connections for us," Hogg said.

WaterStep needs more funds to send more filters.

GE Appliances donated $81,000 and will provide storage at their Puerto Rico facilities.

Davila is grateful to see her new home help her homeland.

"My island was destroyed and I need your help," Davila said. "It is important for my land, for my family, for my people."

WaterStep is waiting for more equipment to be made before they send out their water filters.

The plan is to have them on the island by the end of next week.

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