GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. – A week after Hurricane Maria ripped through Puerto Rico, many still haven’t heard from their loved ones. That list one included Grand Rapids native Kelly Hassberger.

It took Hassberger three days to here from her boyfriend who is living on the island. 

“It was awful. I don’t even have words to explain what it feels like,” she said.  You have this sense of confidence that someone’s OK, but you just don’t know, there’s that uncertainty.”

Hassberger heard from her boyfriend, Charlie, early Saturday morning after a friend allowed him to borrow his phone. The Holland native had to drive to the island’s capital, San Juan, to get one bar of cell service. 

Two thousand miles away, in Grand Rapids, Kelly scrolls through photos of her laptop. 

“That’s our juice bar,” she said with a smile. 

The photos are filled with color and smiles, at a juice shop the couple owns on the island. 

“Charlie and I adore everything about the culture and the people of Puerto Rico.” 

Now Hassberger is proving that. The naturopathic doctor is preparing to travel there, next Tuesday. 

“In some sense I haven’t really fully wrapped my mind around it,” Hassberger said as she fought back the tears. “I know that it’s not a great situation.” 

Hassberger was planning to go down there to help out with the shop, now she’s taking on a different job. She’s packing her bag and heading down with her boyfriend’s father to do anything they can to help. 

“3.5 million citizens are in a really tough situation right now and they need help.” 

Hassberger has spent the last week collecting essentials for those in need and even raised nearly $7,000 to help rebuild. 

“They’re U.S citizens but it doesn’t matter, they’re human beings, take care of them and we can help rebuild their lives,” she said. 

If you are interested in helping Kelly give back, she has provided a full list of items she is collecting as well as an address to mail them, below. 

 

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