• Volunteers in Orlando still working to package millions of meals for Puerto Rico hurricane victims

    By: Ken Tyndall


    ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - A volunteer organization has been working for more than two weeks to package 4.4 million meals for victims of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico but is still short of its goal.

    Feeding Children Everywhere organizers were asking anyone who would like to help to join the thousands of people who have volunteered so far and come to the Orange County Convention Center.

    So far, the group has packaged 3.6 million meals and has until Sunday to finish working.

    On Friday alone, organizers said 800 volunteers showed up to help pack the meals.

    "It breaks my heart because I lived there," volunteer Enid Gonzalez said. "And to see my island destroyed like that, it breaks my heart and I want to do anything possible to help them out."

    Each relief kit contains canned meat, a fruit cup, cookies, crackers, a granola bar and chips.

    Volunteer Marisa Hirsche was moved to volunteer when she thought of her family and what it would be like to be in the shoes of hurricane victims in Puerto Rico.

    "I have four healthy children who have plenty to eat and safe places to sleep," she said. "And I just can't imagine being a mother worrying about being able to feed your kids."

    Volunteer Carlos Almonte knows some of the people who have gone to the island  since Hurricane Maria hit, and they said the situation there continues to be dire.

    "It's sad," he said. "I have friends who went down there and they say it's not what you see on TV. It's worse.

    Read: WFTV revisits devastation in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria

    Even the youngest volunteers understood how badly the children in Puerto Rico need food.

    "If they don't have any food, they would die," said Margarita Morales, who was volunteering for the second day. "It's people who come together from all over. Some people travel from other places just to help us out to pack all this. It means a lot to me. It's very, very touching."

    So far, 7,500 people have signed up to volunteer during the final push to meet the 4.4 million-meal goal.

    Another 1,500 volunteers are needed to make that happen, organizers said.

    Anyone interested in volunteering with Feeding Children Everywhere can get more information on the group’s website.

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