NORTH AUGUSTA, SC (WFXG) - A local family has taken it upon themselves to help those suffering in Puerto Rico. Stephanie and her family didn't waste any time when they found out that FEMA was flying donations out of Atlanta to residents suffering in Puerto Rico. "It's been like over the last 3-4 days. We didn't even have an extended period of time. I found out like Monday that this plane was taking off on Sunday and we needed to have everything by this morning at 12 o'clock. It's been so rapid but it's so amazing to see it all come together. I love it, I absolutely love it," says Stephanie Ortiz-Negron.
With the help of the community, they gathered loads of diapers, baby wipes, feminine products, water, and food to put on a cargo freight at ADP. Although not physically affected, the hurricane aftermath hits close to home for the Ortiz family. "We have a lot of family out in the island. Like my great grandmother is out there, aunts, uncles, just a ridiculous amount of family that's out there. My mom is going through so much. She was looking at the streets and everything where she grew up, where she was playing, where I grow up, where I was playing. It's devastating," says Ortiz-Negron.
The faces of family members Stephanie hadn't seen in years appeared in pictures that were sent to her. Since she is not able to get in contact with them, this is the only way that she knew her aunt was alive. "We're having to find pictures that drones and city halls are taking and literally playing Where's Waldo with our family. And in a picture full of hundreds of faces, we have to search through to find out 'Hey that's an uncle! Hey, that's an aunt! Hey that's a cousin! They're alive, they're okay.' It's a big deal. It's a lot that's really going on," says Ortiz-Negron.
Stephanie was almost speechless while describing how it feels to be able to help them in some way. "Honestly, it's amazing. I can't describe it. I can't describe it because you never anticipate to be put into these predicaments or into these situations. You never anticipate that this is going to happen to your family, to your friends back home," says Ortiz-Negron.
If you missed this shipment, they will also be collecting donations next week as well. The Ortiz family will accept donations at All-Safe Industrial, A-D-P and Cricket Wireless on Knox Avenue to send to Puerto Rico next Saturday.