PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – A group of Puerto Rico natives at Providence College are continuing fundraising for victims of Hurricane Maria.
Eyewitness News first introduced Aura Rexach and Gabriela Short when they hosted a benefit concert on campus at the end of September.
Although it’s been a few weeks since the storm hit, the devastation lingers.
For the last month, Aura and Gabriela are waiting to get that one phone call.
“I actually spoke to them an hour ago, after five days of no communication,” Aura said.
On the other end are their direct families on the island they call home, which has experienced extensive damage due to Hurricane Maria.
“Puerto Rico is not the same Puerto Rico we grew up in,” Gabriela said. “I kind of feel guilty because I’m having a good time. My family, my mom, my dad, my aunts, my uncles, my friends… they’re not.”
When the phone does ring, it’s not always good news.
“There’s barely any water. There is still no power,” Aura said. “Thankfully they do have food, but all the people around them are lacking all of those needs.”
Some of those conversations end with a heavy heart, realizing they this year they won’t be returning home like many of their friends at school.
“I honestly have no idea when the next time I’m going to go home is,” Gabriela said.
For these girls, they say they’re fighting to raise hope and money for Puerto Rico right here in Rhode Island, even if it means missing holidays at home for the first time ever.
“My parents are living on very little things, and I don’t want to waste those things that they have,” Aura said.
A group of a about 20 students have a GoFundMe page set up that they plan on sending to a foundation to help relief efforts. They also plan on organizing more fundraisers in the future.