NJ state troopers helping to guard gas stations and food supplies in Puerto Rico
TRENTON — New Jersey continues to answer the call for assistance from hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico.
From State Police Troop B station in Totowa and Troop C station in Hamilton in Mercer County, 48 troopers headed out Friday to assist with law enforcement and humanitarian aid. They took 15 police cruisers as part of their deployment.
State Police Deputy Superintendent of Operations Lt. Patrick Callahan told 6 ABC Action News they will be providing security at gas stations and food and distribution sites.
They join members of the New Jersey Air National Guard, the Office of Emergency Management's Task Force One and other State Police troopers also working in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
St. Hubert's Animal Welfare Center welcomed a sixth flight of animals from Puerto Rican shelters at Morristown Airport on Friday night. State Sen. Raymond Lesniak, D-Union, was among the volunteers helping to unload 86 dogs and 36 cats plus pack up supplies for both humans and animals to be sent back.
St. Hubert's said it has received 593 animals so far from Puerto Rico which includes three pet pigs.
Maria has wiped out power across the island and left Puerto Rico's 3.4 million people short of food and supplies.
The official charitable site to help with recovery efforts, New Jersey for Puerto Rico Hurricane Relief, made its first donation in the form of a $10,000 check to the Red Cross. At a presentation in Perth Amboy, elected officials talked about the ongoing need for help in Puerto Rico. Perth Amboy Mayor Wilda Diaz said the western part of the island was especially hard hit.
Assemblyman Craig Coughlin, D-Middlesex, said it is “truly remarkable” how quickly fund organizers have raised money and said it was critical to keep the plight of the commonwealth on the front page throughout the state.
“As American citizens, it is our moral duty to get them the care they need. The people of Puerto Rico need and deserve our help," he said.
The group is encouraging cash donations instead of things that require sorting, boxing and shipping expenses.
“Cash donations to nj4pr.org allow reputable organizations, such as the New Jersey for Puerto Rico Hurricane Relief, to strategically support professional disaster relief agencies,” the group said.
Somerville Engine Company 1 will be accepting donations of new and unopened bottled water, baby wipes, diapers, solar power lights, cleaning supplies and more on Sunday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The station is at 170 E. Main St.
Information from the Associated Press was used in this report
Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com