Charities helping Puerto Rican evacuees becoming limited

By: Lauren Seabrook

Updated:

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - Tens of thousands of Puerto Ricans are still expected to seek new lives in Central Florida since Hurricane Maria ravaged the island.

 

But some of the organizations that have been helping evacuees as they come through the Orlando International Airport are very limited in what they can offer.

 

The flow of people looking for help is not slowing down.

 

A resource center at the airport is still serving about 800 people a day, and 125,000 are expected by the end of the year.

 


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That amount of people could fill up Camping World Stadium twice.

FEMA is signing people up for hotels, but the Red Cross is gone, and other charities are stretched thin on supplies.         

 

Liz Hicks wants to help her sister and nephews get a new start because staying in Puerto Rico was not a safe option.

 

"It's very difficult. Nothing is easy," Hicks said.

 

Many families need food, clothing, transportation, education, health care, jobs and a place to live, but finding those things is getting harder by the day.

 

"We keep seeing families living in their cars. We keep seeing families coming and crying because they don't know what to do," said Marytza Sans, president of Latino Leadership.

 

Latino Leadership is one of many organizations at the airport receiving center, but Sanz said some charities are starting to leave, and others are running critically low on what they can offer.

 

Lynx ran out of 30-bus vouchers Tuesday, but officials said they would be handed out again starting Wednesday through at least Nov. 17.

 

She said the Salvation Army and Catholic charities are limited on food.

 

"When they are not getting them there, they are coming here," said Sanz.

 

She fills shelves of food every morning, but says they’re empty by dusk.

 

Sanz worries about what will happen if the donations stop and they can no longer help families who left the island to survive.

 

Channel 9’s Lauren Seabrook reached out to all of the charities involved, but has not yet heard back.

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