Local woman rallies to help Puerto Rico

FRONT ROYAL  – For Sandy Groves, the devastating impact of Hurricane Maria is not only personal but a terrible reminder of the power of Mother Nature.

Originally from Puerto Rico, Groves, of Front Royal, said she can’t believe the loss she’s witnessed.  The Category 4 storm made landfall in Puerto Rico on Sept. 20, bringing destructive winds and rain that created widespread flooding throughout the island.

Every day there is a struggle, Groves said.

“I have family members and friends living in the destruction,” she said. “My parents live in a two-story home, where the first floor was flooded. While water continues to pour in on the second level through the bath tub, they’re making do with what they have.”

When the hurricane passed and clouds cleared a month ago, millions of Americans were without power, phone and internet service. Basic needs such as food, water and first aid were scarce.

“They need us,” Groves said. “And I’m willing to do whatever I can to help.”

After friends both locally and internationally reached out to Groves to find out how they could support the citizens of Puerto Rico, she said she started doing some research.

“I wasn’t aware of any other organizations locally coming together to help,” Groves said. “With the help of Puerto Rico Rise Up, we decided to host a collection here in Front Royal.”

Groves and five other volunteers will be collecting donations for the island’s storm victims at Target in Front Royal from 11 a.m to 6 p.m. Saturday.

“We’re collecting basic personal care items,” Groves said, adding that they will not be accepting clothing, toys, water or food.

Groves said she hopes the collection is successful.“At first we thought we’d only need a U-Haul. But so many wonderful people have reached out, wanting to help. We’re confident we will fill a 40-foot semi truck.”

Target has agreed to let Groves use its parking lot, which she said she is incredibly grateful for. An individual with a private jet will be delivering the donations to various locations in Puerto Rico.

“I’m eternally grateful for all the support,” Groves said.

Items Needed

Personal care:  Diapers, infant and adult, all sizes; baby wipes, rash cream, sanitary pads, feminine wipes, disposable razors, shaving cream, deodorant (men and women), toothbrushes, toothpaste, tental floss, Dr. Bronner’s liquid soap, rubbing alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, iodine, Neosporin, Benadryl, analgesics, mosquito repellent with DEET, hand sanitizer, toilet paper, disposable exam gloves.

Cleaning supplies: Liquid laundry detergent, liquid dishwashing detergent, cleaning gloves, scrub brushes, extension cords, solar lanterns, solar phone chargers.