Mid-South organizing aid to family, friends in Puerto Rico

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - A Mid-South man with family ties in Puerto Rico is working to help friends and family on the island.

Marlon Mercado recalled the day Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico.

"You feel worried for your family, your friends, useless," he said.

The Category 4 hurricane knocked out communication across the island, and Marlon said he doesn't know whether his loved ones are even safe.

"Yesterday you're talking to your loved one and today you don't even know the situation they live in," Marlon said.

Marlon said he knew he had to help. He was also able to get hundreds of Puerto Ricans in Memphis to help, too.

One of those people is Joy Padilla Anderson, who owns the Joy Ride food truck. She has relatives living in the American territory.

"It's rough waking up in the morning, watching the news," Joy said. "I've cried every day. My heart hurts."

Joy and Marlon, along with other local Puerto Ricans, will meet Saturday, Sept. 30 at 2 p.m. at Shelby Farms. They'll put together a plan to help their Puerto Rico family start to rebuild, including donating money from Joy's food truck to help those who lack so much.

On Wednesday, Marlon was finally able to speak with his best friend in Puerto Rico after a week.

"It's amazing how to hear somebody after a disaster like this is," Marlon said.

It's just the first step towards a restoration that could possibly take years.

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