Charlottesville Nurse Asking for Help in Her Hurricane Relief Trips to Puerto Rico

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Elizabeth Alvarez Elizabeth Alvarez
Alvarez with her family Alvarez with her family

A Charlottesville nurse is trying to help Puerto Rico after much of the country is still struggling because of Hurricane Maria.

She's asking for the community’s help in getting much needed supplies to the people who live there.

People all over Puerto Rico are still living without running water, electricity, or access to medical care since that hurricane in September.

Elizabeth Alvarez, who’s a nurse practitioner at University of Virginia Medical Center, is not only trying to help her family but anyone who lives there.

“To hear such a strong man, feel so defeated, it’s devastating to me,” Alvarez said, emotional.

Alvarez says when she spoke to her uncle in Puerto Rico, he was still struggling months after Hurricane Maria caused mass devastation across the island in September.

"There’s nothing he can do, I tell him, come here, there’s so many Puerto Rican Americans and I'm like just come here and he's like, 'No I’m not abandoning my island, my family is here,’ it’s heartbreaking,” Alvarez said.

Alvarez has a lot of other family members on the island as well. Her oldest uncle passed away after the storm.

“I think it was due to just the lack of everything,” Alvarez said.

That lack of everything is exactly why Alvarez is trying to not only help her own family, but help as many people in Puerto Rico as she can.

In October she traveled with a team to the island after fundraising money through a GoFundMe page. She then bought a trailer and shipped down much needed supplies but the process was not easy.

“It’s scary right? Because there’s no street signs, there’s no power, so there’s no lights, so it chaos,” Alvarez said.

Chaos and sometimes medical issues.

"We ran into a hundred and some year-old guy and I could hear him wheezing from the doorway," Alvarez said.

Alvarez worked with her team to get people medical care they needed and wrote prescriptions for others.

She says even though her first trip was challenging, her fundraising efforts aren't over.

She’s going back to Puerto Rico again on January 16.

"The first time it cost me about $11,000, this trip has been less because I have made purchases that I don’t have to make again so I’m thinking it will probably be $8,000 give or take," Alvarez said.

A trailer is already on the island and packed with supplies, but Alvarez says monetary donations can still go a long way.

“These are Americans, they are in humanitarian crisis and if you are a good human being you should think … you know what … I’m pretty freaking blessed and if you're blessed you should be lending a hand,” Alvarez said.

Alvarez is leaving for her next trip to Puerto Rico this upcoming Tuesday. You can still make monetary donations to her GoFundMe page.

If you want to see how the money is spent, her Facebook page is public so you can see exactly where your donations are going.

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