BRANDON, Fla. (WFLA) — It has only been five years since Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico. The White House says FEMA response teams are on the island trying to aid in recovery efforts.

Meanwhile, a Brandon organization is also preparing to do what they can to help.

Linda Perez is the president of Boricuas de Corazón in Brandon. She says her organization already has rescue teams on the island cleaning roads so emergency crews can pass through different areas.

“Right now, Puerto Rico is devastated — not because of the Category 1 hurricane — but because of the flooding, the water that came through the areas,” Perez said. “They don’t have power, water, internet, cell phone.”

Perez says now, they’re starting to collect supplies to send over, but the priority is saving lives.

“Our job is to make sure nobody is in need,” Perez said.

Perez says they hope to send out supplies as soon as Saturday. And just like five years ago after Maria, they expect many families to land in Tampa, so they are preparing to help them as well and provide them with the resources they need.

They’re meeting with several Bay Area agencies Tuesday from 4-8 p.m. to discuss that upcoming arrival.

Yohansi Santana kept a close eye on the hurricane Monday, as it swept across the Dominican Republic.

“It’s very difficult. Very emotional,” Santana said.

She says she’s emotional because many of her family members and her husband’s family members live on the island, including her parents, who live in the capitol.

“I called my parents right away, make sure they were okay, asked them if they had water, electricity, everything they needed, and they, of course, confirmed they did,” Santana said. “Every time a hurricane hits the Dominican Republic, there’s a lot of suffering, a lot of damages and all that.”

Santana owns Divicious Deli & Coffee Shop in Lakeland. She says fortunately her parents are okay, only dealing with the rain and wind, but she knows so many families can’t say the same.

I worry a lot, especially because when hurricane hits like that the rivers overflow and you have to remember, Dominican Republic is good at having crops and all that, so when the river goes all the way like this it’s a big damage. No rice. No crops. No nothing,” Santana said. “We’re just praying that everything is well for them and also for Puerto Rico, because, you know, anything like this is a bad damage for any island.”

To donate, text Boricuas de Corazón at 954-496-1463 or call the office at 813-502-5021. All donations can be delivered to 1291 Kingsway Road in Brandon. Funding donations can be made here.