Central Florida organization collects essentials ahead of hurricane

Honduras residents are preparing for Hurricane Iota

ORLANDO, Fla. – The Central American country of Honduras was ravaged by Hurricane Eta on Nov. 8.

The hurricane made landfall as a category 4.

Eight days later, they’re getting ready for a second impact from Hurricane Iota, a category 5.

“There’s gonna be many many people without houses and without everything,” Doris Patalano, a native of Honduras and the founder of Children of Love Foundation said. “At this moment we can’t send anything yet. We have to wait for the water to come down. We need right now hygiene products, baby bottles. We need cream, fungus cream is very important, pain killers, alcohol, masks. We need food that you can open by hand.”

Patalano. moved to the United States in 1994

In 1999, she founded her non-profit organization, Children of Love Foundation. Since then, she’s created two orphanages, one in the town of La Paz and the second in San Juan del Rancho, located 40 minutes from Tegucigalpa. Between both orphanages, there are more than 100 children being taken care of from 3 months old to 21 years old. Many of them are abused children or from parents who could not care for them.

“There’s a program called Denton, and during that program, NGOs can use federal assets in order to move goods for humanitarian reasons,” Dennis Salcedo, a retired Lieutenant Colonel with the U.S. Army said.

“As a --you know, a lieutenant colonel ex-military for 26 years, I came to understand the logistics of how we move stuff in and out of the United States,” Salcedo said.

He’s helping Doris with the process to register her non-profit with a federal program so she can send aid to her country.

“We’re trying to get in there. One of the things that we are in the process of doing is registering that the Children of Love organization into that list. So, then we can really get into that type of assets for the future,” Salcedo said.

Salcedo found out about the organization in 2005 while stationed in Comayagua, Honduras. He said it’s his turn to give back after Doris helped in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.

“They wanted to do something for me for my people in Puerto Rico and out of the little bit that they have they actually sent some stuff to the island and so that right there was very touching,” Salcedo said.

One of the requirements to be part of the government program for NGOs is they need to have 2,000 pounds to ship by plane. At the moment, Doris plans to send 20 boxes of aid.

“Currently they are aware of what we need ok to move those 20 boxes that we have. However, the minimum requirement is to have 2,000 pounds,” Salcedo said. "so, what does that mean? Maybe those 20 boxes will meet the 2 thousand pounds maybe not. “Plan B is we actually pay a private company that can actually do an airlift to take it down there. Right now, the cost of that is about 3,000. And that’s why we’re moving, we’re pushing out the website of children of Love, which by the way guys, Children of Love Honduras is the only one that is valid,” Salcedo said.

While the organization tries to register for the federal program Salcedo said financial donations are what is needed the most right now.

To make a donation go to this link.

About the Author: