PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Pittsburghers opened their hearts and wallets to hurricane victims in Puerto Rico – from police collecting supplies to visitors donating cash at the Roberto Clemente Museum.
The museum was asking for $21 donations to aid relief efforts in Puerto Rico.
Ten days after Hurricane Maria, people there are still living without necessities that most take for granted.
Puerto Rican native Ramon Fontaine talked to his brother who survived the storm.
“He’s asking us to please get him out of the island,” Fontaine said. “He has no food, has no water, has no gas and desperately needs to get out.”
Museum executive director Duane Rieder expects to go well over the goal for donations.
“A bunch of people have written $500 checks, we’ve gotten a couple $1,000 checks,” he said. “I don’t think 21 is going to be a problem. Maybe we’ll make the number 121.”
Nearly 45 years ago, Roberto Clemente died in a plane crash while trying to deliver supplies to earthquake victims in Nicaragua.
“Every day here at the museum, we say, ‘Hey, what would Roberto do?’ or ‘This is what Roberto would do’ or ‘let’s do what Roberto would do,’” Rieder said.
Other people are donating supplies that will be shipped from the restaurant depot in the Strip District.
There’s another Pittsburgh Puerto Rico connection, too. San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz is a Carnegie Mellon alum and lived in Pittsburgh for eight years.
“It’s our responsibility to help one another, so it’s great [for Pittsburgh] to be able to help her and the people of San Juan,” Mayor Bill Peduto said.
“We’re Pittsburgh. That’s what we do when things are down,” Pittsburgh Police Chief Scott Schubert said. “We always come together to lift it up.”
The Pittsburgh Pirates will be host a supply drive outside PNC Park on Monday and Tuesday from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Pirates Charities is working with FedEx and other local organizations to deliver supplies to Puerto Rico.
Donors are asked to bring new, unopened non-perishable items. Some items that will be accepted include:
- Bottled water
- Non-perishable food items
- Baby formula, diapers and wipes
- Hand sanitizer
- Garbage bags
- Pet food
Pirates players, coaches and alumni will accept donations in the cul-de-sac outside PNC Park on Mazeroski Way.
Frank Coonelly told the “KDKA Morning News” they’re about two-thirds of the way toward filling the 150,000-pound FedEx Cargo plane.
“We’re not there yet. Keep coming down. Nonperishable food items in particular, the people of Puerto Rico need it. Baby formula, diapers, baby wipes, bottled water…hand sanitizers,” said Coonelly.