Puerto Rico is hundreds of miles away, but for one firefighter in Arlington, Massachusetts, the hurricane hits close to home. His fire department is making it their priority to help the victims of Maria.
One by one, necessities piled up Thursday outside the backdoor of the Arlington Fire Department. Dozens of people dropped off goods by the trunk-load.
Jane and Fran Foley said they don't think of it as an option, but as their duty.
In-depth news coverage of the Greater Boston Area.
"Some baby needs diapers," Jane said. "Someone needs some water to drink. They need everything."
The idea came from firefighter Alex Santos.
"My uncle, who's only ever known that house. Fifty-nine years, he's lived in that house," Santos said. "He has had to relocate from that house. He's mentally and physically disabled. He only usually leaves for doctors' appointments."
His family's home on the island was destroyed. Only talking to them intermittently has left Santos with many sleepless nights since Maria hit.
"Our whole livelihood is based on helping people," said Santos.
It's because of that fact that he decided to rally his fellow firefighters, who serve those in need every single day, to show that same kindness to the people of Puerto Rico.
"We decided, 'You know what? We will do whatever we can to help them and the citizens of Puerto Rico,'" said Lt. Martin Conroy.
They started collecting canned goods, water, diapers and basic medical supplies Wednesday. Ever since, it's been a steady stream of goods rolling in.
"I just hope that everybody is able to contribute something," said Santos.
The department is collecting goods until Oct. 4. You can drop them off at their fire station on Massachusetts Avenue.