READING, Pa. - The Hispanic Center of Reading is leading local efforts to help victims of the recent earthquakes in Puerto Rico.

Centro Hispano Daniel Torres announced Tuesday that it has teamed up with the Reading School District, PALO Magazine, and RUMBA Reading to collect a variety of new, travel-size items that can be used to fill emergency care packages for the victims.

"We are once again coming to the aid of the families of the community of greater Reading as another natural disaster strikes the island of Puerto Rico," said Mike Toledo, the president of Centro Hispano. "As we did with Hurricane Maria, we are helping the extended families in Puerto Rico, as well as those that find themselves in Reading."

The items being collected are:

  • First aid kits
  • Shampoo and conditioner
  • Toothpaste/tooth brushes
  • Baby wipes
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Saline drops
  • Self-generated flashlights
  • Mouth wash
  • Soap
  • Feminine supplies
  • Flashlights and batteries
  • Mosquito repellent
  • Cough drops/medicine
  • Deodorant
  • Ensure and Pedialyte
  • Travel tissues
  • Freezer gallon-size bags
  • Portable phone chargers

Toiletry items can be dropped off at Centro Hispano, 501 Washington Street, through Jan. 23.

The donations will then be assembled into care packages during an event being called "Reading Cares Day" at Centro Hispano on Jan. 25. Volunteers are welcome to help with the effort.

A delegation that includes Centro Hispano board members will then travel to Puerto Rico to personally distribute the care packages to families that are most in need.

Monetary donations are also being accepted online and via check. Checks can be made payable to Centro Hispano, with Reading Cares Help for P.R. written in the memo line. Monetary donations will be accepted through Jan. 31.

More than 1,280 earthquakes have hit Puerto Rico's southern region since Dec. 28, more than two dozen of them magnitude 4.5 or greater, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Among them was a 6.4 magnitude quake that hit on Jan. 7, killing one person and injuring nine others.

The quakes have caused a preliminary $110 million in damage and damaged or destroyed more than 550 homes, according to government officials.

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