Rosemary Alers, who is hosting four Puerto Rican nephews and nieces following Hurricane Maria, acknowledges that it’s not going to be easy work.
“It’s hard, but I’ll try everything for them,” she said.
Puerto Rican families leaving the island have been unable to take much with them following the hurricane, which made landfall on September 20.
According to a government website, more than half of the island — 51.4 percent — had power as of November 22.
In the case of Alers’s nephews and nieces, however, they’ve never owned winter coats.
But thanks to local philanthropic efforts by the New Haven and Orange clubs of Rotary International (Connecticut, US — D 7980), Alers has one less thing to worry about.
Local members of the humanitarian-focused business organisation solicited donations for a coat drive before temperatures drop to below freezing this winter.
Carol Martin, a member of the New Haven Rotary Club, said they have raised more than $15,000, which equates to more than 900 coats for New Haven students, including those joining the school system from tropical Puerto Rico.
“There are a lot of generous people in New Haven,” Martin said.
This week, Martin and New Haven Rotary Club Past President Ron Osach delivered more than 180 coats at Christopher Columbus Family Academy in Fair Haven.
“This is like a miracle for us, because a lot of times we want to help, but we’re limited,” said Columbus Principal Roy Araujo.
“There’s a lot of incoming students (to the district) from Puerto Rico who aren’t used to the weather,”
Columbus has absorbed “close to 10” students from Puerto Rico.
As he complimented one student, second-grader Silvino, on his new black coat and asked if he could borrow it, Silvino said he liked it too much to part with it.
Martin said the group bought coats in sizes appropriate for elementary school students through to high school, and she would be dropping coats off at several other schools throughout the week.
The Connecticut State Council of the Knights of Columbus will also deliver winter coats to families in need on Friday at St John the Baptist Church.
Source: New Haven Register