Hispanic leaders in Central Florida just met on Friday to talk about how to prepare to assist anyone impacted by any natural disaster. They met again Monday to talk about their next steps as people in Puerto Rico work on assessing the damage from Hurricane Fiona.

“We’re still tired from Maria. We’re still out of resources. We’re still helping families that have been displaced from five years ago,” Father Jose Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez, who is from Puerto Rico, joined his congregation at Christ the King Episcopal Church in Azalea Park months before Hurricane Maria hit.

He assisted with recovery efforts then and is doing so again, but this time, with experience.

“There’s normally a disaster after a disaster, and that disaster is unneeded aid materials that come in. Really, you can really do a lot of harm by bringing in things that are not needed, resources that are not needed on the island,” Rodriguez said.

That’s why he and roughly 60 others, including elected officials and local organizations, met virtually to talk about how they can help.

He said they’re all standing by to hear what exact resources are needed before they start supplying. He said not duplicating efforts is key and that infrastructure assistance, a welcome center for evacuees, and mental health services will likely be priorities.

By erick