Chelsea IrizarrySep 27, 2017, 6:37 pmSep 28, 2017, 9:29 am

Island Harvest to send 2 tractor-trailers of supplies to Puerto Rico

Nonprofit is teaming up with United Airlines to fly aid to the hurricane-ravaged island


The scope of Hurricane Maria's devastation in Puerto Rico is so broad that many people from outside the capital of San Juan say they've received little to no help.

The storm killed at least 16 people on the island and left nearly all 3.4 million residents without power, and most without water.

"All they continue to say is there's devastation there, and there's no food," said Migdalia Otero, vice president of operations & food procurement for Island Harvest.

Otero's family in Puerto Rico is telling her about the condition of the state, and she has still yet to hear from her 100-year-old aunt and her aunt's sons.

Now that Hurricane Irma and Maria have passed, the storm-ravaged country is trying to recover, and a two-part mission is taking place on the island to help with relief efforts.

Island Harvest Food Bank is working in conjunction with Feeding America and United Airlines to fly products, including bottled water and other needed supplies, from Newark Airport to San Juan.

On Tuesday, two tractor-trailers were loaded with those relief supplies and headed to the airport.

“United Airlines will send cargo planes every other day to Puerto Rico. They have four food banks on the roster, rotating products every other day. They are accepting 50 pallets at a time," Otero said.

But that's only part of the mission, returning United Airlines flights will bring people back who have been stranded on the island

"They're not taking as many as they want, but they're taking as many as they can," Otero said.

Donations are still being accepted as these are the first of several shipments to head to Puerto Rico.

Drop off sites are listed on the food bank’s website at

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