Granite Staters fill tractor-trailers headed for Puerto Rico with donated goods

State House Bureau
October 04. 2017 10:10PM
Gov. Chris Sununu handles a box of supplies bound for Puerto Rico on Wednesday. (DAVE SOLOMON/UNION LEADER)

CONCORD — Granite Staters dug deep into their pocketbooks and pantries to send truck loads of supplies to storm-ravaged Puerto Rico, collected over two days in front of the State House.

Perry Plummer, director of the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, said donations of nonperishable goods filled 14 tractor-trailers on Tuesday, with another 10 or more expected to be filled by the end of the day Wednesday.

“It has been a tremendous success,” said Plummer. “The public has been fantastic. We thought we might have about 10 trailers filled on Tuesday, and we filled 14. We exceeded capacity in our warehouse. We think we are going to be in the range of 20 to 25 tractor-trailer trucks.”

Perry and Gov. Chris Sununu, who initiated the effort, were on the phone Wednesday morning with FEMA officials to make arrangements to have the goods transported to the devastated island.

“They may be flown out of Manchester or Baltimore to get there, and we’re working out those details right now,” Plummer said.

Over the two-day period, more than 150 state employees, including state troopers, worked with volunteers from the N.H. Food Bank, AmeriCorps and the National Guard to collect materials from cars as donors drove by the State House.

“The outreach has just been incredible,” said Michael Todd, spokesman for the Department of Safety. “You see the people come in, the smiles on their faces, and it makes you feel so good to be a part of this. The outpouring of friendship and community is incredible.”

Standing in front of the State House as donations continued to arrive, Sununu said the main task for state government now is to make sure the donations get to their intended destination.

“I can’t thank the people enough,” he said. “Now it’s our obligation to make sure the goods get where they need to be, and not tied up with logistics. FEMA is doing its job on the ground, and it’s giving people confidence that the effort here will be received down there.”

In addition to contributions from individuals dropped off in front of the State House, many businesses donated goods by the truckload brought directly to warehouses.

Others made cash donations, including a $25,000 contribution from Eversource-NH to the American Red Cross, part of an effort to donate $75,000 to organizations supporting Puerto Rico relief efforts in the three states that Eversource serves.

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