NEW BRITAIN - Representatives from the city, school district, Central Connecticut State University and the Ana Grace Project held a press conference Thursday morning to announce the opening of the city’s Hurricane Relief Welcoming Campaign.
The new Hurricane Relief Welcoming Campaign will help families displaced by recent hurricanes get the help they need while relocating to the city. Part of the campaign includes getting students enrolled in New Britain schools with ease and providing their families supplies and resources as they settle into the community.
“Bienvenidos a New Britain!” Mayor Erin Stewart said, which translates to “Welcome to New Britain” from Spanish.
One hundred and eight students have already come to the city from the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and other areas affected by recent hurricanes, and Superintendent Nancy Sarra said another 75 to 100 are expected.
“We are ready and we are willing to be the leaders in welcoming families here to Connecticut from these communities,” Sarra said.
Francisco Morales and his family recently came from Puerto Rico following the devastation left by Hurricane Maria. Morales and his wife, Yadira Merced, urgently left the island after discovering she was pregnant.
“Right after the hurricane, we did a blood test and found out she was pregnant,” Morales said. “All the hospital services and many other services weren’t there, so we had to come over here.”
Morales and his family have been staying with an uncle since coming to the city. Morales was a teacher in Puerto Rico and said he’s working to become a mortgage loan originator and get licensed in the U.S.
Morales said even basic services came to a halt following Hurricane Maria, and cell phone service is still spotty on much of the island.
“There were like three to four hour lines to buy food, to buy gas. We even spent whole nights - like from eleven at night to eight or nine in the morning – waiting for the gas truck to arrive to be able to go to work,” Morales said.
Skyler Frazer can be reached at 860-80105087 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
CCSU and The Ana Grace Project announced the creation of the CCSU-Ana Grace Project Relief Effort a few weeks ago, and the school district is joining in on the collaboration.
Supplies and monetary donations are still being collected, and the following items are being requested for children in grades Pre-K to 12: Pants, skirts, shirts, sweaters, tights, socks, coats, hats, scarves, and mittens.
These items can be dropped off to Jessica Hernandez from the CCSU Office of Community Engagement, located at 185 Main Street, Suite 103 in New Britain, 06051.
Monetary donations can be mailed to the CSDNB Superintendent’s Office, located at 272 Main Street in New Britain, 06051. Donations are being accepted until December 22.
The school district will be handing out gift cards to various stores to families in need. After registering for school in the district, families will make appointments with the CSDNB Family Resource Staff to set up a personal shopping experience.