Community organization opens collection center to help Hurricane Eta victims in Honduras

Want to help? Here’s what you must know

By Pedro Correa Henry

Twitter: @PCorreaHenry

Special to The Star

Community Workshop La Goyco has opened a collection center at their headquarters in the Machuchal neighborhood of Santurce to gather essential products for Honduran citizens who were harmed last week by Category 4 Hurricane Eta, which left some 46 dead, 96 missing and almost 700,000 afflicted by landslides and floods, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Beatriz Ramírez, who is one of the collection center’s coordinators along with husband and Honduran citizen Manuel Cardoza, told the Star that after going through Hurricane Maria together, they understood “what it means to be in need.”

“Even though gust winds were not as strong [as Hurricane Maria], the floods have been horrible. They have left the villages isolated; there are towns that are under water, which are large areas. There are people who lost absolutely everything,” Ramírez said, noting that some of the most requested items have been non-disposable plastic cutlery, personal hygiene products and boxes for shipping supplies.

In order to help family members in the Central American country and many other citizens, the teacher said she and Cardoza teamed up with Lydia Platón, a volunteer at the community workshop who advised them to gather other neighbors, organize and collect resources.

“People from Yabucoa and Jayuya have called to help. Puerto Ricans respond to these calls quickly and with much generosity; once again, they prove that they’re able to help,” Ramírez said as she invited others to cooperate as recovery might take as long as two years. “We are managing to get transportation for the collection, we are knocking on several airlines’ doors.

We are quite happy with the response.”

Meanwhile, Cardoza said that such help is important as the Honduran government’s response has been slow and farmers need as much help as they can because most crops were affected by the flood.

“When you are in another country, no matter your nationality, you notice and inform yourself more about what your people need, and when you see something like this from a colder and critical perspective, you acknowledge that the country has practically abandoned us,” Cardoza said. “My family is doing well, at least, as they were not affected by the floods, but what moved me is that I have been through similar struggles and that I come from a family of farmers, which were heavily affected.”

Cardoza said organizations such as the Honduras Campesino National Association, which is the largest farmers’ association in the country, and Cooperativa Carnel, will be responsible for delivering and distributing relief supplies within the country.

As for other supplies, here’s what Honduran citizens also need:

* Adult and children’s clothes and footwear

* Adult and children’s undergarments

* Bath towels

* Blankets

* Flashlights

* Batteries

* Solar-powered lanterns

* 4-inch mattresses

* UHT or powdered milk

* Adult and children’s diapers

* Canned food

* Toothpaste

* Toothbrushes

* Soap

* Shampoo

* Deodorants

* Sanitary towels

* Feminine hygiene products

* Feeding bottles

* Over-the-counter medicines.

For more information, call or text 787-205-7588 or 787-205-7764. Supply collection is from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. until Nov. 21 at the former Pedro Goyco School in Santurce.