The City of Buffalo is teaming up with the region's Latino leaders to launch a "Puerto Rico Hurricane Maria Relief Fund" drive. A large crowd turned out on the steps of City Hall Friday afternoon to mobilize the community.
The island was devastated this week by the powerful hurricane and residents have gone days without running water, power and other vital necessities. Among the speakers was long-time community leader Chito Olivencia.
"We're going to ask you to please, companies, individuals, churches, everyone, step up. We need your help. The people of Puerto Rico need your help. The governor of Puerto Rico needs your help. And we're going to be the first ones to donate just to show that this is something that is coming from our heart," Olivencia said.
Niagara District Councilman David Rivera said the community is here to support and assist whatever it need to help Puerto Rico recover from the disaster.
"The Puerto Ricans are resilient. They always get back up. We've been down before and we're going to be back up again. Puerto Rico will be restored. I have full-faith in Puerto Rico in Puerto Ricans," Rivera said.
Supplies being requested include canned goods, bottled water, flashlights and baby supplies. Starting on Monday donation centers will be open in Buffalo City Hall, all Erie County buildings, Erie Community College and the Belle Center on the city's west side. Cash donations are being accepted at M&T Bank.