Tampa Bay residents already collecting donations for Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. - Tampa Bay residents with family in Puerto Rico are starting a donation drive after Hurricane Maria ripped through the country.

Even though Brenda Irizarry has not heard from her family yet, she wanted to do her part to help. She said she is a Department of Defense contractor and is using their warehouse to collect donations for Puerto Rico.

They are accepting a variety of donations including water, first aid supplies, batteries, and flashlights. They are currently working on a plan to have those items shipped immediately.

"We have a plan to hopefully get (the) National Guard to take a plane over there as soon as possible to take everything we have," Irizarry said.

They started their donation drive tonight with their own leftover supplies from Hurricane Irma.

"I have to do something and the best way I can, if I am allowed, is by at least helping in the beginning organizing in Tampa with friends here that are also stepping up to the plate," Evelio Otero said.

Otero said the two places where they are collecting donations for Puerto Rico are at 4916 S Lois Avenue and 2701 North Himes Avenue.

"When somebody tells you that 100 percent of the island is without power, it is catastrophic," Otero said.

Otero and Irizarry said it is especially difficult for them seeing Hurricane Maria's destruction.

"I'm numb. I feel like I'm in a bad movie," Irizarry said.

She continued, "Its not only the beauty of the island it's the beauty of the people that are there".

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