Metro Detroit residents and groups, including one assisted by former homeless people, are organizing relief efforts for hurricane-devastated Puerto Rico.

The support ranges from individual people and businesses to organizations joining together.

Hurricane Maria, a Category 4 storm, struck Puerto Rico on Sept. 20 with punishing wind and rain, causing widespread flooding and damaging the electrical grid. The entire island is without power and could remain down for four to six months.

Cass Community Social Services will be using formerly homeless people to make portable solar panels that will be used to charge lights, fans, small refrigerators and cellphones, said a group official. Its Green Industries expects to receive the material Tuesday and will begin assembling them.

A volunteer with the nonprofit group will then bring the first batch of 15 panels to the struggling island.

Anyone wishing to donate money to the organization can go online at or mail a check to Cass Community Social Services, 11745 Rosa Parks, Detroit, MI 48206. If the donor wants the money to go for the solar panels, he or she should say so.

“They have no power at all,” said Cindy Castro, a Detroit resident whose parents and relatives live in Puerto Rico. “Anything that gives them power is good.”

An Ann Arbor chapter of Puerto Rico Rises is collecting donations of a wide array of items. Among them: diapers, bottle water, canned goods, baby food and hygiene products.

The group will be accepting the items until Oct. 12 at locations throughout Ann Arbor and Metro Detroit. For a full list of the items needed and the drop-off sites, go to

Meanwhile, Amici’s Pizza and Living Room in Berkley said it will be donating 10 percent of its sales from Thursday to Saturday to United for Puerto Rico.

The restaurant, located at 3249 12 Mile, also has set up a box where customers and others can donate money for the relief effort.

“Our thoughts of love and hope are with them and all the Americans that are trapped in this awful situation,” the restaurant wrote on its Facebook page.

In addition, Kina Jones of Lincoln Park has set up a fundraising page for five siblings and their families, who lost everything in the storm. Her family members lost their homes, jobs and resources, she said.

Anyone wishing to donate to Jones’ family can do so at

puerto-rico. In eight days, 14 people have donated $695 toward her goal of $5,000.

In a different effort, St. Regis Catholic Church in Bloomfield Hills held a benefit concert Sunday to raise money for the island. The concert featured an orchestral performance of Dvorak’s Symphony No. 9.

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