HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – According to recent reports since Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico, 48 people have died and 111 are still missing. There are also more than 5,000 people still in shelters and as of Sunday, 85 percent of the island still has no electricity. "Just having the ability to power up the refrigerator is a huge help, you can create your own ice, you can keep the food fresh," Madison Country resident Pete Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez has been sending his family in Puerto Rico care packages. "I think Federal Express is now running, I talked with them and UPS and they are now running too," Rodriguez said.
He has already sent a generator and many toiletry items. Madison County resident Jose Matienzo has family in Puerto Rico as well. "Just this morning I got a text saying please send me some puzzles and magazines," Matienzo said.
Matienzo and his co-workers are raising money for the Red Cross, but they are also trying to buy a rescue vehicle. "There's only a few down there in operation right now, so we set our goal to buy that. I got a note recently that we are close to the goal. It's about $150,000 to buy one of those vehicles," Matienzo explained.
Rodriguez and Matienzo said there are many lower income people that are still struggling. "Many of the folks, unfortunately, had houses that are not built to the code that would sustain hurricane winds, so those people are hurting," Rodriguez said.
They both said their families overall are doing the best they can under the circumstances. Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rosselló said he hopes that power will be restored to 95% of the island's energy grid by December 15.