TAMPA BAY, Fla. — A local non-profit is working to connect Puerto Ricans relocating to the Tampa Bay area with the resources they need to live. At least 40 families have received help from the organization, known as Missions of Miracles thus far.
Hilda Rodriguez and her son survived the wrath of Hurricane Maria on the island.
"Through the hurricane, it was bad.... after the hurricane was a nightmare,” said Rodriguez.
Rodriguez says her son needs constant medical attention, which helped her make the decision to leave everything she knew and come to the United States.
"In a crisis, even if you used an ambulance … you had a chance, a very good chance, of not getting there [to the hospital] alive,” said Rodriquez.
Kelvin Valle is the Vice President of Missions of Miracles. Before Missions of Miracles, he worked with several organizations to coordinate humanitarian flights, to help families like Hilda's, that needed access to a hospital or medication. Now, he and the people involved in Missions of Miracles focus on the Puerto Ricans already in the Tampa Bay area, who were forced to move off the island because of Hurricane Maria. They help them with immediate needs such as food and personal hygiene products. Then, they will connect them to the resources they need to rebuild their lives: housing, jobs, healthcare, etc.
“It’s not going to be easy – it’s a hard transition. They don’t want to come here, they want to stay home; however, the situation is forcing them to do this,” said Valle.
Missions of Miracles hopes to reach as many Puerto Ricans who have relocated to the Tampa Bay area as possible. If you need help or know someone who does, get in touch with the organization on its website.