Grand Rapids woman with sister in Puerto Rico holds relief fundraiser

A local woman collected donations for Hurricane victims in Puerto Rico.

GRAND RAPIDS, MICH., - A woman from Grand Rapids held a fundraiser at Fifth Street Hall in Grand Rapids on Sunday, Sept. 24 to provide relief to people in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria.

Ashley Miller's sister Kyla lives in Culebra, which is just east of the main island of Puerto Rico. The population is just over 1,000 people.

"[Kyla] said that it's a ghost town there," Ashley said, speaking with her sister on the phone Thursday afternoon. "There's no water. There's no fuel to keep the generators going. And with no communication, they have no idea when any [supplies are] coming to them."

Miller brought an empty trailer to the fundraiser, where they accepted donations to send to the islands.

"Anything from water to clothing, used clothing," she said. "All types of toiletries -- diapers and lots and lots of bug spray. With all the stagnant standing water, the bugs down there tend to get very, very bad."

People trickled in for hours dropping off items.

"Financially, I don't have too much," said Kyle Grooters, who brought clothes. "But when it comes to items, I could definitely part with those things. And people need them more than I do."

Miller is working with her best friend Jason Schut. The two may drive the trailer all the way to Miami to ship out the supplies.

"The small islands are kind of like the last look," Schut said. "So we're just doing what we can as friends."

Inside, people donated cash, relaxed and danced.

"It shows what Grand Rapids is about," Miller said. "It shows that our community is a loving community, that we don't just care about our town. We care about everybody."

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