Tennesseans head to Puerto Rico to help with hurricane recovery efforts

Courtney Allen reports how volunteers with the Red Cross in Tennessee were sent to Puerto Rico.
Published: Sep. 21, 2022 at 7:39 PM CDT
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - Four people from Tennessee arrived in Puerto Rico Tuesday to pass out food, water, and shelter to families now without power because of Hurricane Fiona.

Two of the four Tennesseans are from Middle Tennessee.

“My direct supervisor lives in Puerto Rico,” Sherri McKinney with the American Red Cross of Tennessee said. “One of the first things I thought about is Grace and her family and how they are doing.”

McKinney said the work the volunteers are doing makes a difference.

For example, almost five years ago Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico. After the hurricane, the Red Cross invested in installing solar panels in more than 100 schools there. When Hurricane Fiona wiped out the island’s power this week, those schools-turned-shelters were the only places with the lights on.

“On a day like today where Fiona knocked out a power system, folks are able to charge batteries, call out and have a safe place to stay,” Red Cross Vice President of Disaster Programs Jennifer Pippa said.

The Red Cross plans to send more people from Tennessee tomorrow for at least the next two weeks.

“It is not going to be easy,” McKinney said. “It is going to take a lot of time for the people to overcome as well as our volunteers to serve.”

The volunteers from Tennessee are among 190 total with the Red Cross in Puerto Rico. The Red Cross said it is always in need of disaster volunteers.

For volunteer information, click here.