Winooski Woman With Family Ties to Puerto Rico Starts Relief


The struggle in Puerto Rico continues, weeks after Hurricane Maria destroyed much of the Caribbean island but help is soon on the way from a Winooski woman with strong family ties to the island.

“You have the houses that are in shambles and their roads, they’re just trying to clear them for people to walk to get whatever help they can get,” said Gina Buchanan, organizing Puerto Rico relief effort.

Buchanan grew up in Brooklyn, New York and has lived in Winooski for ten years but her family comes from Puerto Rico, where many are struggling to get by after Hurricane Maria wreaked havoc across the island last month.

Buchanan said, “It’s hard when you’re not there and all you can do is just cry from home and go ‘how am I having by breakfast, my lunch, my dinner’ and they’re only one ration of meals.”

Buchanan has had on-and-off contact with her family she even received startling images like these.

“That used to be a major road over that way and there is nothing left, they can’t connect,” said Buchanan.

Gina said she had to do something. On Monday she’ll start collecting supplies which will be shipped to Puerto Rico in partnership with ‘United for Puerto Rico’, an initiative started by Puerto Rico’s first lady.

Buchanan said, “Baby wipes, diapers, formulas, baby and adult pain relief and diarrhea relief medicine because of the water conditions, canned and dry foods.”

Other items being collected include construction supplies such as extension cords, work gloves and tarps.

“Because of it’s geographical nature it’s surrounded by water so relief efforts are hard come from the mainland,” Buchanan.

Local organizations are already on board. Winooski’s city hall will be a collection site and Shaw’s in Colchester will also have bin.

Buchanan said, “It’s to know that they are not alone, they are not in this fight alone.”

Buchanan says she is also looking to adopt a family for the holiday season.

The collection will last through October 28th. For more information, click here.

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