State Senator Len Suzio holds hurricane relief drive to help Puerto Rican students who relocated to Meriden

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MERIDEN – People in Connecticut have stepped up in many ways to help Puerto Rico since the island was ripped apart by Hurricane Maria.

Even though it has been one month since the devastation hit, the efforts have not stopped.

State Senator Len Suzio came up with a different approach to help the children who have relocated to Meriden from Puerto Rico.

“They’re coming from a very warm climate where their winter is about 70 degrees, so they don’t have the winter clothing that they need,” said Senator Suzio.

Suzio then had an idea. Instead of sending supplies to families, he decided to hold a Hurricane Relief Drive for children who moved here.

“Well, there’s a lot of relief going down to the island already. Why don’t we take care of those families that move up here?” added Suzio.

Over the summer, the Los Amigos Softball League out of Hartford collected two giant warehouses full of donations and all of that shipped directly to families in Puerto Rico. However, Senator Suzio said Meriden has a large Hispanic population, many of them being Puerto Ricans.

Since the devastation happened, he said 60 students have not only relocated to Meriden but also enrolled in the city’s schools. In fact, Senator Suzio said he would not be surprised if there are over 100 students before the end of the semester.

“Many of them have lost a lot of the possessions they had because of the hurricane too, so they are relocating from the island not only because of the devastation there but many of them have lost everything,” added Suzio.

Ocean State Job Lot was one of three locations to drop off supplies along with Boscov’s at Westfield Mall and Silver City Barbell. People donated pillows, jackets, warm clothing and even money.

Some of Santa’s helpers included four students from Maloney High School who took time out of their Saturday to volunteer.

“The whole community I think has embraced the idea and to me, that says a lot,” added Suzio.