"Today I'm not helpless" #ROCRelief rounds up community and hurricane aid

Oct 7, 2017

Credit Caitlin Whyte / WXXI News

A number of organizations are working together to put on #ROCRelief, an event held in Parcel 5 Saturday to collect donations and items to send to hurricane stricken Puerto Rico.

Rose Mary Villarrubia-Izzo helped set up the event, she said many in the Rochester community are personally effected by the destruction.

"For us who are here, and there’s over 40,000 Latinos in the city of Rochester, the majority 85-90% Puerto Ricans, it’s really hit hard. It’s hitting home because we have so many family members down there and we can’t do anything down there. But what we can do here we're trying to do."

Villarrubia-Izzo says she’s been trying to visit her parents in Puerto Rico but her trip has been rebooked five times, and is now indefinitely postponed. According to her mother they are still without water and electricity.

“When I talk to her all she does is cry. And all I can do is cry because I feel like I'm helpless. But today I'm not helpless because today I am organizing."

Despite the rain volunteers were loading up trucks with boxes of food and pallets of water bottles, some going to Miami to be taken to Puerto Rico by boat, and some going to Dominica, a small island that was also damaged by the storms.

Credit Caitlin Whyte / WXXI News

Yeshira Flores was one of those volunteers, she said it’s important to remember those struggling to rebuild are American citizens.

“There's human beings, there’s families, there’s babies, there’s elderly people still over there with no water, no food, nothing.”

She said this event was important to her because you can feel the love and support when everyone gathers.

#ROCrelief runs in Parcel 5 until 6pm Saturday evening.