Mishawaka students send truck-load of supplies to pen pals in Puerto Rico

20 pallets of goods were loaded onto a truck in South Bend for Puerto Rico. // WSBT 22 Photo

For those still in Puerto Rico, help is on the way from our area.

20 pallets of goods were loaded onto a truck in South Bend. This collection is a community-wide effort.

It is a partnership between Feeding the Nations, the National Guard and Covenant Christian School in Mishawaka.

For some students, the drive is about helping some of their newest friends.

Local third graders are learning about Hurricane Maria from a firsthand source, letters from their pen pals in Puerto Rico.

"My friend Isabella that she wrote to me, she said thank you for praying and thank you for giving me all that stuff that I sent them,” said Lauren Staley, third grader.

Their teacher, Militza Mendoza, is from Puerto Rico. When the hurricanes hit, it a was moment of fear.

"It was a nightmare for every single Puerto Rican out of Puerto Rico because we were having no communication at all. We were waiting almost weeks,” said Mendoza.

Mendoza is turning that fear into a teachable moment. Her students are practicing their Spanish and learning about what it means to give.

The school helped collect more than 20 pallets of water, food and supplies.

"My mom and me went to Sam's Club and bought like a bunch of stuff and we went there and got it to them, because Puerto Rico doesn't have like a lot of stuff,” said Staley.

The students, their notes and their faith have been a lesson for the adults as well.

"Like one student said, 'God is bigger than any storm, and He showed that He's there for us," said Mendoza.

The truck loaded Thursday will head down to Florida where it will then be shipped to Puerto Rico.

The final weigh-in came in at 8 tons of goods.

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