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Neighbors 4 Neighbors to help those impacted by Hurricane Fiona

Neighbors 4 Neighbors accepting donations to help people impacted by Hurricane Fiona
Neighbors 4 Neighbors accepting donations to help people impacted by Hurricane Fiona 03:05

MIAMI - Created in the days after Hurricane Andrew, Neighbors 4 Neighbors has been helping those dealing with disasters for nearly 30 years.

On Monday, they announced that they were accepting donations to help those hard-hit Puerto Rico by Hurricane Fiona.

Those wishing to donate can go to or text HURRICANEFIONA to 41444.

Neighbors 4 Neighbors has an established process after disasters to identify the neediest areas and will work with organizations to provide relief and recovery to the communities impacted by Hurricane Fiona.

Volunteers prepare to send aid to Puerto Rico 02:12

"Right now the plans are to identify where the biggest needs are. We have partners at several nonprofit organizations with boots on the ground and we help supplement them bring relief items and other items that are needed," said Katy Meagher, president of Neighbors 4 Neighbors. 

Meagher told CBS4's Peter D'Oench, "Each situation is unique and we want to identify where those needs are. Usually, it is money that helps the most and allows us to buy items that are needed. Puerto Rico is part of the United States and those communities were really hard hit after (Hurricane) Maria and they are still coming back, so it is even more important to assist them in getting back on their feet. We will help as long as we are needed."

At the Global Empowerment Mission in Doral, Chief Operating Officer Emily Fullmer says workers are assembling 1,000 family necessity kits for those in need in Puerto Rico. Those kits, which include socks, rice, beans, canned goods, cookies, and other items will be sent out by air on Tuesday to the island.

More than a million people in Puerto Rico are without power. It could take several days to fully restore electricity on the island.  

"Right now we want to get food and water to families suffering from the floods and after that, we move into Phase 2 where more pallets with goods will be sent by ocean, taking 5 to 6 days, as well as air," she said. 

"The power outages caused power needs as well as needs for clean water so a lot of the community is cut off from power and those are some of the biggest needs that we are needing to focus on according to our partners on the ground."

"Times is of the essence. That's why we need to work with our partners on the ground as quickly as possible. We have worked there before as we did after Hurricane Maria 5 years ago sending 55 planes and 86 containers of goods so we are familiar with the support chains and how to get goods there as quickly as possible."

She added, "We are very passionate about helping people in their time of need."

Three members of Miami-Dade's Urban Search and Rescue team were activated to help out in Puerto Rico. The three members of Florida Task Force 1 are being activated to support local responders in search and rescue after Fiona made landfall on Sunday as a Category 1 storm in southwestern Puerto Rico, spawning fierce winds and flooding.

Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Chief Fire Officer Brandon Webb said, "We are traveling to Puerto Rico at the request of FEMA to assist with coordinating individual and logistical support of ongoing search and rescue operations as well as damage assessments currently being conducted by local responders."

Miami-Dade's Urban Search & rescue team has been deployed before after the Oklahoma City bombing in April, 1995 and after the World Trace Center collapse and after Hurricane Katrina and after earthquakes in Colombia, Turkey and Haiti and most recently after the devastating building collapse in Surfside. 

Fiona severely damaged the fragile power grid with whipping winds and torrential rain.

LUMA, the island's power company, had restored electricity to about 100 thousand people by Sunday, but said could take days to get power back up for the whole island.

The storm caused massive flooding and triggered landslides.

More than 100 shelters are open.

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