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Lenexa's Heart To Heart International Brings Hope And Supplies To Puerto Rico

courtesy: Heart to Heart International

Puerto Rico is still digging out from Hurricane Maria.

The storm knocked out power, and fuel supplies are low. People are struggling to meet basic needs, such as access to food and water.

"We bring hope to people. We're going to help make those circumstances better," said Heart to Heart International chief operating officer Kim Carroll. "Puerto Rico will recover if we help it, and that's what we need to do." 

On Thursday, Heart to Heart, based in Lenexa, Kansas, loaded up supplies for the Caribbean island, an unincorporated territory of the United States. Carroll told Up to Date host Steve Kraske that a team spent the morning filling up a FedEx truck. 

"The supplies that are going out are substantial, but they're only the first shipment," said Carroll. "It’s 44,000 pounds of supplies. That’s 40 pallets. That’s a truckload. And it includes 270,000 meals, hygiene kits, feminine hygiene supplies, bottled water and water filtration systems."

Related: In Puerto Rico, Containers Full of Goods Sit Undistributed At Ports

Heart to Heart is working with Fed Ex to assist with delivery, first by truck and then by plane. This shipment is expected to arrive in San Juan on Friday. And they've partnered with Nazarene Compassionate Ministries (NCM) to distribute the supplies. 

A Heart to Heart team first brought supplies and medical assistance to Puerto Rico by chartered helicopter on Sunday. Carroll calls the devastation in Puerto Rico "significant."

"What we're seeing on the ground is lack of potable water. There are vast food shortages. People don’t have food, they don’t have clean water," she said. "The hospitals are only partially functioning, if at all."

In August and September, the organization has been on the ground in Haiti, Texas, Florida, and Caribbean islands, in the wake of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria. And they've shipped medical supplies to Mexico for earthquake relief. 

Laura Spencer is an arts reporter at KCUR 89.3. You can reach her on Twitter @lauraspencer.

Kansas City is known for its style of jazz, influenced by the blues, as the home of Walt Disney’s first animation studio and the headquarters of Hallmark Cards. As one of KCUR’s arts reporters, I want people here to know a wide range of arts and culture stories from across the metropolitan area. I take listeners behind the scenes and introduce them to emerging artists and organizations, as well as keep up with established institutions. Send me an email at lauras@kcur.org or follow me on Twitter @lauraspencer.