BOSTON (CBS) — Big names in Boston headed out of the city Tuesday morning to help the continuous hurricane relief efforts in Puerto Rico.
Red Sox Manager Alex Cora and Mayor Marty Walsh are bringing supplies to the island and plan to spend some time with young athletes there.
They will make a stop in Caguas, Cora’s hometown, just south of San Juan.
Hurricane Maria devastated the entire island in September, initially wiping out its electrical grid. Months later, 35% of Puerto Rico is still without electricity.
Red Sox President Sam Kennedy, catcher Christian Vazquez, and pitcher Rick Porcello are also on the trip.
The Red Sox-themed Jet Blue plane took off around 5:30 a.m. with medical supplies, vaccines, water filtration systems, first aid kits, canned and dried foods, batteries, flashlights, hygiene products, diapers, toys, and baseball equipment on board.
Cora told reporters before takeoff that he was excited and had been waiting for this day for a long time.
“It’s tough for us the last four, four and a half months, back home. Throughout the season, the end of the season, I felt like I wasn’t able to do enough to help my countrymen because of work,” Cora said.
After the donations are delivered to the families of Caguas, the volunteers will meet with baseball players from local schools.
“I think it’s a good idea that we can help Little League teams or high school teams and get back to normal. It’s not easy. On a daily basis, you look around there’s a reminder that there is a struggle,” said Cora. “We’re just trying to help them to get back to what they used to do.”
Walsh said he thought it was important to show Puerto Rico, and Boston families who have relatives in Puerto Rico, that the city supports their recovery efforts.
“People say when you fly in, you can really see a difference. You can see the vegetation and the damage that the hurricane did. So I’m not looking forward to it, but I’m certainly looking forward to showing my support to the people of Puerto Rico,” said Walsh.
For Cora, the trip is more than a good cause, it’s personal.
“I know how proud they are of what has happened in my life, but I’m prouder of what they have done the last few months. They’ve been fighting–there’s a lot of communities over there that the struggle is real.”