Local Puerto Rican community not waiting for government

The owner of Sweet Land Cake needs your help to ship disaster relief essentials to hurricane survivors in Puerto Rico.

PHOENIX – The humanitarian crisis continues.

Half of the island of Puerto Rico is without drinking water, electricity, gas, and food, and there is very little support for the 3.5 million Americans who live there.

Hurricane Maria slammed into the island Sept. 20, wiping out almost everything.

Since then, the U.S. government has taken harsh criticism for the delay in support.

RELATED: Trump waives shipping restrictions to speed up help for Puerto Rico

"The resources are there,” House Speaker Paul Ryan said.

But many of the resources are off shore, because most seaports are closed and roads are flooded or blocked by debris.

“We clearly believe and understand that those resources will be tapped,” Ryan said, but the concern is the lives it will cost if people don't have access to those resources.

The death toll stood at 16 as of Friday afternoon.

RELATED: Arizonans make it home after being stranded by Hurricane Maria

Ben Charvest, the owner of Sweet Land Cake in Phoenix, is from Puerto Rico, but he's had zero communication with his loved ones back home.

He’s been part of a larger effort in the Valley to get help to as many people as possible.

The local Boricua pride is strong, bolstered by the organization Puerto Rican Center of Arizona, which has collected donations.

"Water, canned foods we accepted so we can send to Puerto Rico,” as well as baby formula, diapers, and other items, Charvest said,

They have packed a tractor trailer full, and now they need help to ship it to the Caribbean.

To offset the cost, Charvest will be donating proceeds from sales Sunday all day.

His business is 4747 E Thomas Road in Phoenix.

© 2017 KPNX-TV


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