A group of Oldsmar residents, merchants, organizations and officials are banding together to provide supplies for victims of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. (Credit:OS4PR/Facebook)
It was recently proven during Hurricane Irma that Oldsmar bands together as a community in a time of crisis.
Weeks later, that resolve and spirit of togetherness is on display once again.
A group of Oldsmar residents, merchants, nonprofit organizations and city officials are working to fill a 53-foot tractor-trailer with supplies for victims of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico.
The Oldsmar Strong For Puerto Rico, or OS4PR, Supply Drive is being spearheaded by Suda Yantiss-Colon of Miss Suda’s Dancers and her husband, Hector, and is being sponsored by Oldsmar Cares.
On Tuesday night, Yantiss-Colon, who knows first hand about the generosity of the community, announced the project to the City Council, which quickly agreed to support the effort.
Suda Yantiss-Colon and her husband, Hector.
“My husband and I, just about two weeks ago, were sitting trying to figure out how we could help our son and daughter-in-law and grandchild in Puerto Rico,” she said on Tuesday, Oct. 3.
“We got them a flight on (October 20), but we started saying how can we send supplies?”
Miss Suda said within days, they had a 53-foot trailer donated, along with a tractor and driver, pallets and boxes as well as coordination with the Air Force to ship the goods.
“Shortly after, we had Oldsmar Cares join in to sponsor us,” she added. “And we are working with a number of organizations already starting with the collections, and (we are) looking forward to working with the City and the community to fill this first 53-foot trailer.”
Yantiss-Colon said they are having a supply drive at the Walmart on Tampa Road on Saturday, Oct. 14 from 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.
She added donations can be made at Community United Methodist Church, or online at Oldsmar Strong for PR on Facebook.
“We’re going to help get all kids of supplies for kids and adults sent to Puerto Rico,” she concluded.
After Mayor Doug Bevis suggested the City help, Council member Eric Seidel said he has been involved with the effort and praised those
“I’ve been working on the committee and been to the committee meetings that we’ve had,” Seidel said, noting he’s also on the account at the bank that is receiving the cash donations.
A list of supplies needed for the Oldsmar Strong For Puerto Rico Supple Drive.
“There’s a lot of interest, a lot of people doing great things and it’s coming together very fast,” he added. “(It’s) a really dynamic committee of people, and it’s just taking off.”
According to Miss Suda, they are looking for the typical supplies associated with disaster relief, including generators, gas cans, canned foods, flashlights, new clothes and bottled water.
“They literally have nothing there now,” she said. “We’ll take anything people can provide.”
She said they are already well on their way to filling the first truck, at which point they will get another one.
“Our goal is to get it filled, and if we get more than that, we’ll get another trailer,” she said.
For more information on the Oldsmar For Puerto Rico Supply Drive, including lists of what is needed and online donations, visit Facebook.com/OS4PR.com or email OldsmarStrongForPR@gmail.com.