Local church raising money: Family looking to help rebuild Puerto Rico

A Seymour family is looking for support from the community to help raise money and collect needed items to rebuild Puerto Rico after the devastation of Hurricane Maria.

Brothers Jorge Munoz and U.S. veteran Orlando Munoz, are originally from Mariana II, Humacao, located on the eastern coast of the Caribbean island. They have watched the news in despair and cried over the losses suffered from the storm which hit as a Category 4 hurricane late last month.

The Munozes still have family in the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico and have had some communication with them since the storm, said to be one of the most catastrophic hurricanes to ever hit the island.

“It’s just awful. All the wood houses are gone and there is so much damage,” Jorge said.

In most areas, there is no power and residents are running out of fresh drinking water, food, medications and other supplies. Due to the flooding, some areas are unreachable.

It could be six months before any sense of normalcy returns and then many years to rebuild, Jorge said.

That thought weighs heavy on the their minds as well as other Puerto Rican families living in Seymour, many of whom attend Cornerstone Community Church.

“It has been difficult and stressful,” Jorge said. “And sad to hear from our people, but we need to stop crying and do something.”

That is why the Munozes have organized a drive to collect needed items that will be shipped to Puerto Rico.

Items being accepted include bottled water, batteries, canned food, flashlights, diapers for children and adults, personal hygiene products, sanitary napkins and feminine products, pet food, wipes and over-the-counter medications.

The drop off is available from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday at the back entrance of Cornerstone Community Church, 1088 Sarasota Drive in Seymour.

Jorge attended Purdue University and moved to Seymour in 2004. Orlando served in the U.S. Army during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

They have attended Cornerstone for years and helped open a separate church, Centro de Renovacion Christiana, a Hispanic ministry, on East Street, in Seymour. Orlando is on the church’s board of directors.

“Instead of going through the Red Cross, we are collecting stuff here,” Jorge said. “We had someone donate a container and when we have it full, we will be sending it to Chicago and from there it will be shipped to Puerto Rico.”

The Munozes are planning to travel home to receive the shipment and distribute it where the need is in their hometown.

Financial donations also can be made. An account has been established at WoodForest National Bank in Walmart Supercenter. Checks can be made payable to Orlando Munoz with Hurricane Maria Relief Funds written on the memo line. The account number is 1230385211.

On Oct. 12, the Puerto Rican ministry at Cornerstone will be preparing a fundraiser meal consisting of roast pork, white rice, baked beans and macaroni salad. Cost is $10. Deadline to order is Oct. 11.

Delivery is available in the Seymour area starting at 10:30 a.m.

Jorge said he is thankful for all those who want to help, including Seymour High School, which has donated bottled water and Trinity Lutheran High School, which plans to put in an order for the fundraising dinner.

“We appreciate the support. It means so much,” Jorge said.

To place an order for the meal or to find out more information about how to help, contact Jorge Munoz at 812-498-8733 or Orlando Munoz at 812-569-3451. Those speaking Spanish can order by calling Antonia Rodriguez at 812-569-6417.

At issue

United for Puerto Rico fundraising dinner

On the menu: roast pork, white rice, baked beans and macaroni salad

Cost: $10 a plate with money going to help Puerto Rico rebuild after the devastation of Hurricane Maria.

When: Oct. 12, orders must be received by Oct. 11.

Where: Cornerstone Community Church, 1088 Sarasota Drive, Seymour. Delivery is available in Seymour starting at 10:30 a.m.

To place an order: Call Orlando Munoz at 812-569-3451 or Jorge Munoz at 812-498-8733. To order in Spanish, call Antonia Rodriguez at 812-569-6417.

United for Puerto Rico collection

Needed items include bottled water, batteries, canned food, flashlights, children and adult diapers, personal hygiene products, sanitary napkins and feminine hygiene products, pet food, wipes and over-the-counter medications

Items can be dropped off from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays, Tuesday, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at Cornerstone Community Church.

Monetary donations also are being accepted. An account has been established at WoodForest National Bank in Walmart Supercenter. Checks can be made payable to Orlando Munoz with Hurricane Maria Relief Funds written on the memo line. The account number is 1230385211.

Author photo
January Rutherford is a reporter for The (Seymour) Tribune. She can be reached at jrutherford@tribtown.com or 812-523-7069.