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Mayor Eric Adams joins relief team in Puerto Rico to help with Hurricane Fiona response

Elizabeth, N.J. Puerto Rican Day Parade transformed into relief effort
Elizabeth, N.J. Puerto Rican Day Parade transformed into relief effort 02:27

ELIZABETH, N.J. -- Mayor Eric Adams is standing ready with the people of Puerto Rico. He is trying to help them build back after Hurricane Fiona wreaked havoc last week on the island.

But as CBS2's John Dias reported, thousands in New Jersey turned a party into a purpose to also help.

READ MORENew York, New Jersey state police head to Puerto Rico to assist with Fiona recovery

Puerto Rican pride took over Elizabeth on Sunday.

Thousands came out to participate in, and watch the city's annual parade, which marched enthusiastically down Elizabeth Avenue for the first time since before the COVID-19 pandemic.

And while many are eager to be here.

"Teach the young children to be proud of being Puerto Rican and their heritage," one person said.

READ MORENew York City organization has boots on the ground in Puerto Rico to aid Hurricane Fiona recovery effort

Others also couldn't help but think about what's going on with family members on the island. Half of Puerto Rico is still without power almost a week after Fiona struck the U.S. territory.

"Devastating, devastating, but everyone is pulling together," Marta Torres said.

"They're in our thoughts every day," Evelyn Roman added.

Roman has dozens of family members back in Puerto Rico.

"It gives you an anxious feeling. You wish you could do more, but only so much you can do," Roman said.

So what parade goers did turned the festivities into a relief effort.

"Today is an emotional day for many of us," City Councilman Carlos Torres said.

Torres and others set up a donation tent at the end of the parade route to collect supplies for those on the island.

"The people of Puerto Rico are suffering. We are humans. We gotta help each other out and that's what it's all about, giving back, helping those in need," Torres said.

READ MORETeam from New York City sent to Puerto Rico to help assess damage from Hurricane Fiona

When it comes to the donations, the goal is to collect two truck loads to be be shipped right to Puerto Rico in the coming days.

Meanwhile, Mayor Adams is also adding more boots on the ground -- his own. He flew to the island this weekend to pinpoint Puerto Rico's needs. On Sunday, he met with the mayor of San Juan at the city's emergency command center.

"It's just our way of saying that we need to be together and we're going to continue to move throughout the island," Adams said.

Help and aid is coming from hundreds of miles away, proving no distance can separate the bonds to build back.

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