Jinny Santos found out she was pregnant with her fourth child about a month after Hurricane María had left her town in the heart of Puerto Rico without power, communication or running water.

Now eight months pregnant, she’s gettingready to deliver her second son in their new home in Orlando with the help of the Episcopal Diocese of Central Florida, hoping the post-María birth can help mark a new beginning.

The church is helping 10 expectant mothers from Puerto Rico cover their basic needs.

On Tuesday, Santos scanned the aisles at a Target on Alafaya Trail, filling her shopping cart with clothes, diapers, nail clippers and tiny hangers. She turned occasionally to her husband, who was carrying their youngest daughter, to make sure they covered the basics.

“I take care of their emotional, mental, spiritual needs,” said the Rev. Gladys Rodriguez. “There’s a registry at Target called ‘Hurricane Maria’ and we’re asking the community to go and get baby gifts, whatever they need. Diapers, and bottles and clothes.”

The Episcopal Office of Latino Assistance funded Santos’ trip to Target. The office is seeking grants to help finance their efforts to support other families who have relocated in Central Florida.

Along with her husband and three kids — son Jeimmy Jurado, 10, and daughters Emma Villegas, 4 and Laira Jurado, 1 — Santos spent the days and weeks after the Category 4 storm like most of her neighbors in the mountainous town of Cayey: standing in line for hours hoping to get ice and canned foods, and resorting to drinking water from nearby springs out of desperation.

“The cold meals were warm and the hot meals were cold,” Santos, 31, recalled. “Helpless. That’s how we felt.”

Laira and Emma got sick and hospitals were too packed. Her husband, Juan Carlos Jurado, 29, was working seven days a week for the municipal government of San Juan, but his check didn’t reflect his overtime hours.

They fled to a friend’s home in Sanford, and Jurado got a job at an aluminum factory. When he first started, he worked 21 days in a row, the family said.

A month later, they moved to an extended-stay hotel. In February, they were approved for a low-income apartment in Orlando, where they’ve lived since.

“You will go to my house and notice that everything’s used, the furniture’s used … But we’re blessed,” she said. “We sleep well, the [kids] sleep well.”

Santos said she’s met many families like hers who have had a harder time settling down. They haven’t found jobs; they haven’t found low-income housing; they haven’t found steady access to transportation.

“We tried, under the circumstances, to help each as much as possible, because we’re all from Puerto Rico,” she said. “The change hasn’t been easy. Wages are good, but rent is really high.”

Rodriguez said she hopes relieving some of the financial burden for the expectant mothers can help them adjust to life in Central Florida.

“Most of them are staying, they’re gonna stay,”she said. “We have new people in our community, especially these babies that are going to be growing up here.”

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