MILWAUKEE -- Some Puerto Rican students at Marquette University say they don't want politics to get in the way of a humanitarian crisis. They came together on Saturday, September 30th, collecting items and donations for hurricane victims.
There are about 50 students from Puerto Rico attending Marquette. They say even though they worry about family back home, they are encouraged by support.
Outside of the Marquette Student Union, boxes filled with donations were taped up to be sent to Puerto Rico.
"Diesel's running out, water, food and so we decided to help out from back here," said Cristofer Borghese, Marquette student.
Everything from water bottles, to batteries are being collected for victims of Hurricane Maria.
"Within all this sadness and all this craziness, it has calmed me," said Alexandra Lopez, Marquette student.
Those volunteering have been affected by the devastation firsthand.
"I didn't talk to my family for five days. I saw pictures of my neighborhood, I saw everything flooded," said Lopez. "It was like, what am I supposed to do?"
Alexandra Lopez is from San Juan. Her neighborhood back home was one of the hardest hit. Her family is safe, but she is heartbroken by what happened.
"We're away from home, but at least we can do this and try to help them in any way that we can," Lopez said.
"I talked to my mom five days after the hurricane hit," said Caribbean Islands Student Organization President René Martínez.
For René Martínez...
"Those five days were a living hell," Martínez said.
His family back in Puerto Rico has been asking for help. This collection has brought him hope.
"I feel like today is a different day at Marquette. We're being the difference," said Martínez.
The students say they are focusing on the positive and blocking out the politics.
"There's no need to bring politics into this, this is a humanitarian crisis," said Lopez.
They're optimistic a place they love will recover.
"I am hopeful, and I believe Puerto Rico is going to stand up," said Martínez.
The donations are being sent to Chicago, from there they will go to Puerto Rico. Students have started a YouCaring page and continue to ask for donations.