Local United Way leader visits Puerto Rico in light of hurricane disaster

United Way of Roanoke Valley CEO hopes to garner local support

By Patricia Martellotti - Reporter

ROANOKE, Va. - Recovery efforts continue in Puerto Rico almost two months after Hurricane Maria made landfall.

“I went all the way around the island and got a deep insight as to what the current crisis is two months after the hurricane,” said Afira Devries, president and CEO of The United Way of the Roanoke Valley.

From sunrise to sunset, the passionate Puerto Rican visited with partner programs.

Devries met families who lost everything but were still able to find joy.

“Every single day these children miss out on their education, which is a setback for their whole life,” Devries said.

Since her return about a week ago, she now hopes to garner local support.

Currently, there is a need for items, including bug spray, rice, and solar-powered lanterns.

“I gave out lanterns when I was there, and people wept,” Devries said.

You can also give a monetary gift.

“If you give a monetary gift to United Way of the Roanoke Valley for Puerto Rico aid, we will use it to either purchase goods or to take out shipping expenses,” Devries said.

She's one woman, hoping an entire community will step in to help.

Click here for a list of helpful items to send. They can shipped directly to United Way of Roanoke Valley at 325 Campbell Ave. SW, Roanoke, VA 24016.

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