More than 8,000 pounds of powered milk, rice, beans, tuna and canned sausage were sent to Santiago, Cuba, Monday morning to help people affected by Hurricane Sandy.
The massive storm that battered the Northeast last month first pummeled Santiago de Cuba in the southeastern section of the island, leaving many people homeless, Miami Archbishop Thomas Wenski said.
“The damage in Cuba was tremendous,” said Wenski, adding that more than 100,000 homes and at least 13 churches were damaged. “The scale of destruction is very large.”
The small cargo plane was donated by Raul Dube, owner of Miami Air Cargo.
For the past two weeks, the more than 100 parishes in the Archdiocese of Miami have been collecting money for storm victims in Cuba, the Caribbean and the Northeast, Wenski said. The archdiocese then bought food in bulk to send to the island.
The Rev. José Espino, pastor at San Lazaro Catholic Church in Hialeah and the liaison between the Archdiocese of Miami and Caritas Cuba, said Monday’s delivery was a “drop in the bucket.”
“There is a lot of need there,” he said, adding that the challenge is actually shipping goods to the island.
Wenski said he is hoping Monday’s shipment of food — which was expected to get there by Monday afternoon and be distributed by Caritas Cuba and Daughters of Charity — is just the beginning.
“We are looking at other ways we can help,” he said.