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United Way hopes to make the holidays feel like home for families from Puerto Rico

Caitlin Whyte

Olaf from Frozen and Santa were just two of the guests at United Way's holiday party this Wednesday afternoon.

The organization threw the party for the influx of individuals who have recently come to Rochester after hurricane destruction in Puerto Rico.

Yversha Roman, Senior Relationship Manager at United Way Rochester said while working at the IBERO resource center, they came up with an idea to help our newest neighbors.

"While we were here we kind of realized that they were missing out on a holiday that felt like home. And that’s what we did today, providing them with a holiday that feels like home, typical food, three kings, Santa. So that they kind of feel that community that they were ripped away from because of the storm."

The party included gingerbread house making, and toy giveaway as well as a full lunch.

Roman said even months after the storm, new families are still making their way to the area.

"Every Thursday this is used as a resource center and every Thursday families keep showing up. Actually today, while we’ve been here there’s been families showing up, still asking for and needing support in the winter months. In Puerto Rico our winters are nothing like this."

Credit Caitlin Whyte / WXXI News

The address for that resource center is 938 Clifford Avenue.

In terms of donations, Roman says they are in a good place with clothing and other material goods, but monetary donations are always welcome

"When you resettle, there are some finances that go towards getting a new house, new furniture, down payments and deposits for homes. That’s definitely something that’s becoming more and more of a need."

Donations can be made through IBERO.