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Man steps up to help group of volunteers in Hartford ship donations to Puerto Rico

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HARTFORD -  A group of volunteers have been working hard in collecting donations to send to Puerto Rico. Just recently, they ran into a roadblock and could not find a way to ship it all.

The donations have filled up two giant warehouses in Hartford. They want to make sure the items get to the families directly, especially to those who need it.

“People think that everything is fine in Puerto Rico, but it’s not,” said Pedro Mercado of Hartford.

Mercado is a player on the Los Amigos Softball League. Since their playoffs on September 24th, he and his team have collected an overwhelming amount of supplies from the community.

With the help of State Representative Angel Arce, Mercado was able to get the two warehouses and spent countless nights organizing it all.

“I remember spending up to 11:30 at night,” added Mercado.

They collected food for each family that will last up to four days, hygiene products, medical supplies donated by a Willimantic nursing home and 120 palettes of water.

However, Mercado needed help. He needed the money and a form of transportation to ship the items.

“How many people do you need to help that? You need an army. What does it take? It takes an army,” said Elliot Matos of Newington.

Matos is a friend Mercado used to work with several years ago. Matos stepped up and started a GoFundMe page. He wanted to make sure those who live high up in the mountains in Puerto Rico receive the same help as everyone else.

“My mom is there and I wasn’t able to speak to my mother for three weeks,” added Matos.

With Matos’ efforts, there is now a warehouse secured in Puerto Rico where a team of people will be on standby to help distribute the donations.

“I’m so proud of him and what he’s doing and between me and him, it’s working out and going to happen,” added Mercado.

The items will be shipped by the end of the month to help out the approximate 3.5 million Puerto Ricans who are still living each day on very little resources.

“Just … just do something, you know? Something. It’s for the fellow human beings. It’s for fellow Americans,” added Matos.

The Los Amigos Softball League will be having their finals Saturday at the Dunkin Donuts Park. Before their game starts, they will be having a fundraiser from 8 a.m. to noon where people are encouraged to stop by to drop off donations before everything gets shipped.