Thanks to locals, help is on the way for Puerto Rico and Mexico


AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF)– The Hispanic community joined forces to help their families and friends in the U.S. territory that are picking up the pieces after Hurricane Maria wrecked havoc on the island.

Hurricane Maria has devastated families throughout Puerto Rico, causing mass flooding and power outages. On top of that, Mexico has had several earthquakes this past week.

That’s why local Hispanic organizations joined Saturday– they decided something has to be done.

“It’s been two or three days that you haven’t slept because you really don’t know what is happening. You can’t get in contact with your parents. Puerto Rico is just… shut down,” Alexis Almodovar, event organizer, said.

He is a member of Oasis Church, off of Deans Bridge Road, and the congregation opened its doors Saturday for people to donate supplies for hurricane victims in Puerto Rico. But they weren’t the only ones. Across town, the Asociacion Cultural Hispanoamericana and Visible Church held a car wash to raise money.

“As brothers, Hispanics, we are not just Puerto Ricans or Mexicans or Panamanians. We are just people. All together we can’t do everything, but we can do something,” Bengie Garcia, Pastor of Visible Church, said.

In Mexico, the earthquakes have collapsed homes, building and killed hundreds of people. Parts of Puerto Rico could be without power outages for months. The natural disasters aren’t sitting well with these volunteers who worry about their loved ones overseas.

“The refrigerators go down. They don’t have any power, so the meat is going to get spoiled. Water… how long can they have that water? Are they paying their water bill? Are they taking sips of water trying to stretch it as long as they can?” Almodovar said.

The video in this news story has gone viral, and its of local Pastor Bengie Garcia’s father. Despite the flooding, the family is making the best of a tough situation.

“They were singing. They were praising God. I know it is going to sound weird for so many people, but trust me, there is something about worship. You will find some hope,” Garcia said.

Garcia’s brother had a moment of cell service in Northern Puerto Rico, and that’s when he was able to upload the video.

Oasis Church is collecting donations again Sunday, September 24th, and a little goes a long way for these victims.

“A bag of rice will help six families. A pack of water will help a family for how long?” Almodovar explained.

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