Central Ohioans struggle to get needed supplies to Puerto Rico

Central Ohioans with family in Puerto Rico collected supplies for people in need, but are now having problems getting them to the island (WSYX/WTTE)

People living in Central Ohio with family in Puerto Rico have been taking action to help those devastated following Hurricane Maria.

Just last week, ABC6/FOX28 introduced you to community members gathering life-saving supplies. But now, they are putting out a desperate call for help as all the supplies are now stuck sitting in Columbus.

"It is frustrating, very frustrating, because we have our hands tied," said organizer John Ramos.

It's an emotional for people with family stuck in Puerto Rico to see the pallets of life-saving supplies sitting at the Columbus church, well over 1000 miles away from the devastation in Puerto Rico.

"For us to still be getting messages and text messages from our families, 'I have three cans of food left and half a gallon of water,' why am I getting those messages?" said organizer Natalia Rivera.

Rivera and other community members spent hours collecting the items and they said the community really stepped up.

"This could take care of two towns," she said.

For now, they are being housed at a church.

"I thought it would be beneficial to us to step to the plate and take the frustration," said Pastor Donald Washington of the Mt. Hermon Baptist Church.

The group said they had a Plan A, specific steps cleared with the Puerto Rican government to get the items to the island.

"Through PRFA, Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration and FEMA," said Ramos, "there is a lot of red tape and right now they told us they don't have the capacity."

Now, the group is putting out a call for anyone who can help get these goods to the island.

"I do have the logistics in Puerto Rico, we do have people able to help us, but now we need someone to help us here to be able to ship these," said organizer Vil Marie Yampier.

If you can help, contact the station. The group is working to get items to the island as soon as possible.

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