San Luis Obispo County

SLO seeks help for Puerto Rico by working to establish sister city status relationship

SLO Mayor working to establish sister city status with San Juan

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. - People on the Central Coast continue to worry about their family in Puerto Rico nearly a month after Hurricane Maria hit the island. 

San Luis Obispo City Mayor Heidi Harmon is looking for ways to help by working to establish a sister city status relationship with San Juan, one of the cities on the island. 

Gabrielle Rivera and Monisha Rios are holding onto hope, often feeling helpless. Their families are thousands of miles away in Puerto Rico. 

"It was exceptionally difficult, it was the longest week of my life,” said Gabrielle Rivera. 

After Hurricane Maria hit, it took days for Rivera to hear from her mom. She said the winds were so strong they tore down the walls in her mom’s apartment.

"I would like more of a rush from federal aid,” Rivera said. She’s not in this alone. 

"It’s overwhelming and it’s all I can think about,” said Monisha Rios. 

Rios also has family on the island but, communication with them is scarce.

"They kept loosing signal and it kept cutting out so all she really got is that they are getting low on water and eating canned food,” she said. 

Rivera and Rios say many families are in need of help. That help could soon come from resources in San Luis Obispo.

"A real connection where we have folks going there to establish relationships and be as helpful as possible,” said San Luis Obispo City Mayor Heidi Harmon. 

Harmon also said that they are at the beginning stages of planning.

"One of the things the city has already done is to sign up on the national list of cities willing to go and offer resources,” she added. 

The relationship would open doors between both communities of people. 

"I think it’s really easy to forget in this case with Puerto Rico, that they are, as we often say, our fellow Americans,” said Mayor Harmon.

Baileyana, Tangent True Myth Tasting Room in San Luis Obispo is hosting a fundraiser and benefit concert on Sunday, October 29, 2017.

Proceeds from the night will go to victims affected by natural disasters.  

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