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Central Florida organizations combine relief efforts for Puerto Rico

Organizers say they need more supplies to send

ORLANDO, Fla.

Puerto Rican organizations across Central Florida have mobilized into a super group, all aimed at helping their native island and those who have been impacted by Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

CASA, is comprised of different businesses, political, and religious organizations that are now collecting donations for the hard-hit Puerto Rico. The island is expected to be without power for four to six months as they rebuild from the Category 5 hurricane. CASA has already collected some items, like non-perishable food, water and clothing but officials with the organization said they need a lot more.

“Right now, we need generators, we need hammers, we need wood panels, we need tarps for our roofs because the water is going to keep coming in,” organizer Peter Vivaldi said.

There are several ways to help in the effort, including taking those donations to Acacia Florida at 1865 N Econlockhatchee Tr. Orlando, PRFAA at 15 S. Orlando Ave., Kissimmee, online at www.unitedforpuertorico.com or by using the social media hashtag #prayforpuertorico.

Later on Thursday these donations cites were added around Central Florida:

  • De La Torre Law 33 East Robinson St. Suite 222 Orlando, Fla. (9 a.m. - 5 p.m.)
  • Lim Law 805 Verona St. Kissimmee, Fla.
  • Eclat Law LLp 2180 W. State Rd. 434 Suite 2100 Longwood, Fla.
  • Payas, Payas, Payas 12934 Deer trace Ave. Orlando, Fla.

CASA plans to start sending shipments to Puerto Rico after this weekend and through the coming months.

"We have over 3,200 federal FEMA employees as well as National Guard and emergency response teams on the ground and Puerto Rico right now," Rep. Darren Soto said.

Soto, like thousands of other people, has not been able to get in touch with friends and family in Puerto Rico. 

Officials with the Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration said people can call these numbers to help find information about their family members:

1-202-778-0710
1-787-777-0940
1-877-976-2400

While people wait to hear a voice on the other end of the phone, others are pushing for donations in the Central Florida area. 

"I am trying to get all the Puerto Rican entrepreneurs together so we can actually make a difference versus doing little things here and there. We're trying to combine all the efforts and, you know, just help," said John Collazo, owner of Bad As’s sandwich shop in the Milk District. 

On Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Collazo will open his business as a drop off site for donations. Items like water, batteries and canned food will be collected and 30 percent of the business' proceeds for the day will go to relief efforts. 

Also happening Sunday, organizers of a concert in Kissimmee will collect donations starting at 5 p.m. at 2031 Simpson Road.