Proceeds from Meriden Latin American music festival going to Puerto Rico

MERIDEN – As Hurricane Maria swept through Puerto Rico leaving nothing but devastation, people here in Connecticut have been desperately trying to find out if their families are safe.

A Latin American Music Festival was held at the Green Friday night where people were able to donate money to help those affected.

“It’s sad because I haven’t heard anything,” said Hilda Santiago of Meriden.

Santiago was one of the organizers of the festival and she knew she had to do something when the hurricane continued to lash the island with winds and rain.

“It’s just devastating,” added Santiago.

Aside from collecting money, supplies were also accepted. “Diapers, clothes, food, so we’re going to be redirecting those to the Red Cross,” added Santiago.

With Connecticut having a large Puerto Rican population, families here like Santiago have exhausted their resources in getting hold of their loved ones.

“Connecticut has a large Puerto Rican population. There’s over 50,000 Latinos, Puerto Ricans in the State of Connecticut,” added Santiago.

The National Hurricane Center predicted there would be approximately 3.4 million people without power, many of them had their energy grid destroyed as they were left with no cell service.

“You think of the worst and hope for the best. At this point, I’m just hoping it’s just that the power is down,” said Joanne Muniz of Meriden.

The last time Joanne Muniz spoke to her family was Tuesday. She said her family lives in the middle of the island which is prone to major mudslides.

“I haven’t heard anything from my parents, grandparents,” said Muniz.

Organizers of the festival said they hoped to raise close to $40,000. Anyone who was not able to attend but still want to help can do so by attending another fundraiser held at 11 a.m. on Saturday at Liberty Park in Waterbury.