Tampa Bay residents helping Puerto Rico earthquake victims

Hillsborough County

TAMPA (WFLA) – The island of Puerto Rico continues to get rocked by earthquakes. This past Tuesday a 6.4 magnitude earthquake hit killing one man, injuring at least eight other people and collapsing buildings.

Meanwhile, the Tampa Bay area is answering the call for help.

Employees at Martin’s BBQ usually dish out some tasty food, but lately, their thoughts are with friends and family in Puerto Rico.

The island country continues to deal with debilitating earthquakes. Many people don’t have where to sleep says the restaurant’s owner Antonio Makari. They don’t have beds. He spends his days buying supplies like cots and air mattresses and shipping them to Puerto Rico.

“This is an emergency, but it is not a Maria,” says Jeannie Canlderin with Somos Puerto Rico Tampa.

Calderin also has family living through the worst of it working with another non-profit, Course for Action, gathering the Puerto Rican community and raising money at different events.

“They wanted to be around Puerto Ricans. They wanted to talk about their families. They wanted to let you know what their family was going through,” says Calderin.

The need goes beyond the island. After hurricane Maria and hundreds of earthquakes — an exodus begins.

“I’m starting to receive message, after message, after message. They are wanting to relocate. They’re done. Emotionally they’re done,” says Calderin.

Somos Puerto Rico Tampa plans to take money raised and go to Puerto Rico, and buy supplies there. They’re also working to help families that move here to our area.

At Martin’s BBQ, the owner says if anyone wants to drop off air mattresses, cots, or bedding, they’ll ship that to people in need.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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