HOPEWELL — During October, the Ontario Center for Rehabilitation & Healthcare will collect items for residents of Puerto Rico affected by Hurricane Maria.
Annalise Freling, western New York regional marketing director for New York City-based Centers Health Care, which operates the Hopewell facility, said the drive is part of the Empire State Relief and Recovery Effort for Puerto Rico. That was created by Gov. Andrew Cuomo following his recent visit to the island.
“Our organization is always thinking about humanitarian efforts and how we can help people in our communities, as well as others affected by tragedies,” Freling said. “Because Puerto Rico was so hard hit by hurricanes, both Irma and Maria, we decided the staff at Ontario Center should rally the troops and help.”
Ontario Center, off County Road 46, is the former county nursing home. It is accepting the following items:
• Portable lanterns.
• Baby wipes.
• Cases of water.
• Hygiene products.
All items must be unopened and in their original packaging. Freling said while monetary donations will be accepted at the facility, the focus is on simple items essential to daily living.
“Clothing is needed, but right now they are in dire need of the items we have listed. There are a lot of places taking monetary donations, and people can also do that on the Empire State Relief and Recovery website,” she said. “There are some places taking tangible items instead of money, and some people may feel awkward about a monetary donation. If they can only afford to buy a toothbrush, then we encourage them to buy one and bring it to the Center.”
While facility staff are spearheading the drive and encouraging employees to donate items, Freling said community residents are welcome to stop in with donated products. Staff is organizing a “trick or treat” night toward the end of October, with the goal of collecting more relief items.
“There are so many people that want to help, and this is a way to do so,” Freling said.