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Dover Twp. woman plans mission trip to Puerto Rico after earthquakes hit island

Tina Locurto
York Dispatch

A Dover Township woman raised more than $700 Sunday to help fund her mission trip to aid relief efforts in Puerto Rico after a series of earthquakes rocked the island.

Angie Garrison, the founder of Off Grid Disaster Relief, immediately began plans for a trip after hearing news of the natural disaster. The first earthquake hit the island Jan. 7

"The people in Puerto Rico are still suffering from the emotional and mental stresses of Maria," Garrison said. "A hurricane you can see coming, an earthquake you don't know."

The earthquakes in the past week have left more than 5,000 people homeless and caused an estimated $110 million in damage, according to Reuters.

Angie Garrison of Off Grid Disaster Relief, hosts a fund raising event at the Cantina on S. Duke Street, Sunday, January 12, 2020. 
John A. Pavoncello photo

This will be Garrison's fifth mission trip to Puerto Rico assisting families, children and the elderly since Hurricane Maria hit in 2017.

A fundraiser was held at The Cantina York on Sunday, Jan. 12, to help fund her trip to Puerto Rico on Thursday, Jan. 16.

To aid in fundraising, The Cantina created a specialty piña colada, with $2 donated for every drink sold. Additionally, 5% of all food sales went toward Garrison's mission fund.

Several local restaurants, including Rockfish Public House and the White Rose Bar and Grill, donated gift cards and small prizes for raffles that took place throughout the night.

While on the island, Garrison said she'll be traveling around to meet with families and provide essentials such as food, water, personal hygiene packets, solar lanterns, stuffed animals and mosquito nets. 

"I take as much as I can and purchase what I need when I'm there," Garrison said. 

Angie Garrison of Off Grid Disaster Relief, hosts a fund raising event at the Cantina on S. Duke Street, Sunday, January 12, 2020. 
John A. Pavoncello photo

She also will be assisting the YMCA in Ponce, a city on the southern coast of the island. 

"I can't wait; I need to go now," Garrison said. "These are our American brothers and sisters."

Sandra Quiñones-Hemphill, who attended Sunday night's fundraiser, said she wouldn't be able to visit her family in Puerto Rico and came out to support Garrison as the next best option for providing support to her community.

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"This was the best thing I could do in supporting (Garrison)," said Quiñones-Hemphill, of Manchester Township. "She has an amazing spirit and love for the Latino community, particularly the Puerto Rican community."

Sandra Quiñones-Hemphill of Manchester Township looks over the menu at the Cantina during the Off Grid Disaster Relief fund raising event, Sunday, January 12, 2020. 
John A. Pavoncello photo

Quiñones-Hemphill first grew close to Garrison when the two met and connected over similar passions for wanting to help the Latino community.

"I know that she does such a good job with organizing and pioneering things over there, so I know that whatever proceeds that go toward this fundraiser will directly help the Puerto Rican community," Quiñones-Hemphill said.

— Reach Tina Locurto at tlocurto@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @tina_locurto.