SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The City of Springfield is teaming up with the New North Citizens Council to create a fundraising effort and plan to help families in Puerto Rico experiencing devastation due to Hurricane Fiona.

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The city is using lessons that they learned from their response to Hurricane Maria to help prepare themselves for Fiona. The New North Citizen Council is with working closely with the City of Springfield on supporting the people of Puerto Rico in wake of the most recent natural disaster the island has faced, Hurricane Fiona.

Springfield City Councilor Maria Perez and Jose Claudio of New North Citizen Council watched a live stream update from Puerto Rico Wednesday and learned that there is even more rain on the way.

“I think the degree of damage that the island is going be hit with is going to be greater than Hurricane Maria,” Councilor Perez said as she’s been working with Mayor Sarno on developing an emergency preparedness plan for the city to support people displaced by the storm who come to Springfield.

One of the things we learned from Maria was that we try and help as much as we could in Puerto Rico, but when the influence of more than 2,000 people came to Springfield we definitely had a lot of need also,” said Jose Claudio, Chief Operating Officer New Citizens Council.

The city plans to use support services in Springfield for these people, to help them find housing, schools, and clothing. This is a two-phase fundraising effort, the first phase will focus on monetary donations and the second phase will focus on food, clothes, and building supplies.

“At this particular time Puerto Rico, again, has been devastated. It’s just crucial to identify family members, and be supportive,” said Juan Falcon, Executive Director of the Hispanic American Library.

If you would like to make a monetary donation, mail to New North Citizens Council, 2455 Main Street, Springfield, MA 01107 or to Freedom Credit Union, 1976 Main Street, Springfield, MA 01103.  Monetary donations can be made out to New North Citizens Council (NNCC) with attention or C/O to Fiona Hurricane Disaster Relief in the memo section.

The Gándara Center has also launched a Hurricane Fiona Relief Fund that will support those on the island. Once more information is available about what is needed on the island, The Gándara Center will use the funds to assist residents.

Moving forward, the city hopes to have a plan in place in order to cope with future weather-related disasters.