For Immediate Release
October 10, 2017
Contact: Cynthia Walsh/704-564-9573
At 9am Wednesday October 11, the Restore Global team, along with tens of Wells Fargo employee volunteers, will be loading tons of hurricane relief supplies onto the first of three trucks destined for the port cities of Jacksonville, FL and then San Juan, Puerto Rico. Loading will take place at the Puerto Rico Cultural Society of Charlotte’s warehouse at 550 Griffith Road, Charlotte.
The Puerto Rico Cultural Society in Charlotte had gathered literally tons of donations for the survivors of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, but had no way to get the critical supplies shipped to the storm-ravaged island. As the donations of food, water, cleaning supplies and more piled up to the ceiling, happiness at the generosity of the community turned to frustration when quotes for shipping the donations came in as high as $100,000. Then, frustration turned to desperation: “We are begging for someone to help us get these supplies to our families,” a tearful volunteer pleaded to a WCNC news crew.
The next day, the Society’s prayers were answered when Steven Wray, Restore Global’s founder and CEO, heard the plea. Myra Cintron De Shahid, who had put out the original call for donations, was dumbfounded. “When I came (in that morning), he was in the building, and I was not expecting it to be that fast. It was overwhelming and joyful that our prayers had been answered in a matter of hours,” she said, emotion still animating her voice.
“Our expertise is moving assets,” said Steven. “One of the things that makes us unique is that our Director, Bruce Bodman, is one of the experts in humanitarian global logistics.” And Restore Global is able to mobilize quickly. “In our country, we have such a caring society – people who have compassion for those in need – but sometimes they don’t know how to help. Well, one small sliver of helping is that we can take those donations from the community and help get the right assets to the right place, quickly. So laundry detergent, diapers, water, food…they won’t be sitting in a warehouse for two or three weeks while the people who need them are hungry and struggling.” As Restore Global organizes and loads the shipping containers, the Puerto Rico Cultural Society is coordinating with a committee in Puerto Rico to greet the shipment when it arrives to ensure the donations get to the distribution point without delay.
Myra hopes that the collaboration between the community and Restore Global will continue until the people of Puerto Rico can survive on their own, which will take a long time. “By Restore Global stepping up, they are a model for other organizations to help us,” she said. “Restore Global’s action sets the tone of being an American, and we are all Americans. You can tell they care.”
Additional trucks will be loaded Thursday October 12 at 9am and Friday October 12 at 8am.