Paterson organizes donations drive for Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic hurricane victims

Communities across New Jersey are gearing up to help relatives living in Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic who were impacted by Hurricane Fiona.

News 12 Staff

Sep 20, 2022, 8:51 PM

Updated 632 days ago

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Communities across New Jersey are gearing up to help relatives living in Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic who were impacted by Hurricane Fiona.
One of those communities is Paterson – the city with the largest population of Dominicans living in New Jersey.
A relief drive will be held at Paterson’s Eastside High School on Oct. 2. Everything collected will go to the people of the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico.
The storm has leveled areas in both the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. People are suffering with flooded streets. Homes have been blown apart by 90 mph winds, and lives have been lost.
“Everything is underwater there. People lost everything there,” says Paterson Deputy Mayor Elsa Montalla.
Montalla is also from Higuey, a city in the Dominican Republic. It is largely a farming community.
“You can see all of the cows, all the chicken and everything – dead. It’s a really sad disaster,” she says.
Montalla’s sister Mirla Mesa lives there for most of the year. She is now in Paterson visiting. She has been receiving regular photos and videos from friends who have seen the Duey River flood the region.
Mesa says she has been in touch with the mayor of Higuey, who says people need help.
“A lot of people lost everything. He said maybe appliances, food, things for the kids, Pampers and all of the stuff,” Mesa says.
Part of Puerto Rico is still in blackout conditions with roads and bridges are impassable.
Paterson is putting together such a large response because 60% of the city's population is Latino - the majority Dominican.
“We have coordinators in Puerto Rico assessing the most vulnerable areas that have been affected,” says Paterson Council Member Luis Velez.
Donations can also be made at the Dominican Consulate located across the street from Paterson City Hall.
Donations will start being accepted on Oct. 2 at 7 a.m. at Eastside High.


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