Mercy Mission: Amsterdam to San Juan

September 25, 2017 06:49 PM

AMSTERDAM - What you see happening in the driveway at 30 Pulaski Street in Amsterdam is best described as a mission of mercy, sort of an assembly line of kindness.

The women who have gathered there are sorting through donated clothing items, which serves as the beginning of a charitable pipeline from the streets of Amsterdam to the sands of San Juan, Puerto Rico.

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"It's just been amazing," says Denise Diaz, the homeowner, "The community has come together and it's been unbelievable. I never in a million years would have expected the outcome of this."

Denise says what began as a simple Facebook post a few days ago has mushroomed into something far beyond her expectations.

Her driveway is a clothing sorting station; her dining room has become a food pantry; the front foyer of her house is a repository for personal hygiene products; and the garage is a shipping warehouse, awaiting trucks to pick it all up and on its way to the Caribbean island.

"I don't plan on stopping here," Denise says, "I plan on continuing on. I'm going to do what ever I can do to help them."

Denise's wife, Elizabeth, feels the same way, despite the emotional toll that Hurricane Maria has caused her.

"You can't sleep and you can't eat," she says, "It's difficult when there are babies and seniors out there that have no one and have nothing."

Elizabeth continues the at-home charity drive knowing that many of her family members who are still living in Puerto Rico have lost everything. In fact, some of her relatives, one week after the storm, are still unaccounted for.

"Trying to contact our families has been extremely difficult," she says, "Not hearing from them is the worst feeling."

And so Elizabeth of Denise continue their mission, if for no other reason, as a reminder of what happened, and as a distraction from reality.

"I've always been one to see (something) and say, "Where's human kindness?" Denise says, "These last three days have shown me that human kindness is everywhere."

If you'd like to donate, Denise and Elizabeth say they'd welcome your generosity. You can drop off items at their home at 30 Pulaski Street in Amsterdam.


Dan Levy

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