Maria and Jose Agosto and two of their 9-year-old triplet daughters left Puerto Rico after surviving Hurricane Maria, but they arrived in Buffalo with little more than the clothes on their backs.
Now as winter sets in, the Agostos and roughly 400 other Puerto Ricans who came here after the hurricane are rebuilding their lives, but they are in need of the most basic essentials: warm clothing and household supplies.
“I want to say thanks to everybody who has helped me,” Maria said Friday tearfully through a Spanish translator.
The couple’s other triplet and an older daughter are still in San Juan, but will join the family in Buffalo in early 2018.
Mayor Byron W. Brown said the number of hurricane survivors arriving in Buffalo is likely to grow to a few thousand.
“We expect that number to greatly increase in the weeks ahead, creating a critical need for winter clothing, household goods and furniture so they can begin new lives here,” Brownsaid.
He is asking the community to help the new arrivals through a supply drive.
The Local Efforts Supply Drive, Catholic Charities of Buffalo and St. Vincent DePaul Society have established two drop-off locations in the city. Donations of new and used clothing, coats, boots, small household items, bed linens, cleaning supplies and personal care items can be dropped off at Catholic Charities’ Ladies of Charity at 1122 Broadway from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on weekdays and on Dec. 2. Used clothing, footwear and bedding should be clean and in good condition.
New and used furniture — especially beds, dressers, sofas, chairs, tables and cribs, as well as small appliances — can be dropped at St. Vincent DePaul, 1298 Main St. between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Televisions will not be accepted.
In addition, monetary donations are needed to help the new arrivals with security deposits and rent payments, said Nadia Pizzaro, co-chairperson of the Local Efforts Supply Drive. Financial donations are being accepted through the Belle Center, 104 Maryland St. and at M&T Bank via the Puerto Rico Hurricane Maria Relief Fund.