BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - It has been nearly two weeks since Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico.
Many residents are still without food, water, power and basic necessities. Puerto Rican leaders are calling the situation a humanitarian crisis.
That's why a LSU student organization, Hispanic Student Cultural Society (HSCS), has mobilized to create a crowdfunding campaign to get emergency supplies to the island as soon as possible. It's called the "Cajun Relief Initiative."
HSCS has partnered with Cajun Airlift, Baton Rouge Emergency Aid Coalition and the Physicians Relief Network to help collect, deliver and distribute the supplies.
The financial donations will be used to purchase emergency supplies and satellite phone minutes for medical personnel who are on the ground.
The Physicians Relief Network already has a team of physicians on the ground in Puerto Rico.
This effort is a personal mission for several members of LSU's HSCS. Some members have family members who live in the hardest hit areas of the island.
"We'd like to sort of serve and provide for our 'gente', as we like to call them our people in Puerto Rico, by doing this," said Dr. José Torres, an associate professor of Sociology at LSU. "We wanted to help. We felt a little bit helpless and that's sort of a natural feeling. You're in the states and that's an island, how can you help? So we stepped up, the students here stepped up and said let's take an initiative to get some relief, how can we do [it] and you know, we did it."
The organization will continue to raise money to purchase supplies as relief is needed in Puerto Rico.
Dr. Torres explained the group is also looking for local businesses who can provide space for donations.
"Here in Baton Rouge, we're looking for potential drop off locations. If you're a business and you're able to secure a spot in your building for a drop off for supplies, that would be great. We would be able to come pick those items up," Torres explained.
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