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'We Know What It Is to Go Hungry': Grateful Puerto Ricans Pay It Forward by Helping Florence Victims


Nearly a month has passed since Hurricane Florence devastated parts of North and South Carolina.

Volunteers are working through CBN's Operation Blessing to help victims rebuild their lives in the hard-hit city of Lumberton, North Carolina.

Some know all too well what it's like to suffer from a devastating hurricane.

Government employees from Puerto Rico are serving hurricane victims in Lumberton, with seven chefs and cooks dishing up food to those in need.

"It was important to us to be here today because, through Operation Blessing, the people of (the) United States gave us their love and support," Jesus Flores, executive assistant of the San Juan mayor, told Operation Blessing.

Puerto Ricans know very well the immense destruction a hurricane can leave behind. A little more than a year ago, two hurricanes struck the island territory.

Now this group is here as part of "Operation Pay It Forward."

"So the only right thing to do is to answer back when someone's in need," Flores said. "So as soon as we had the request, the mayor of San Juan, Carmen Yulin Cruz, said 'Yes,' and she sent us."

"And here we are full of joy and very happy to be able to contribute a little in the recovery process of North Carolina," he continued.

Mayor Cruz shared with CBN News' "Faith Nation" how Operation Blessing is making a difference by providing solar lamps and water filtration systems.

"You may not even know it, but you saved lives," she said. "And it wasn't only that people could drink water out of a creek and get purified; it was that our lives mattered to somebody."

In the spirit of "paying it forward," Cruz sent the team of Puerto Rican volunteers to work alongside Operation Blessing.

"We know what it is to go hungry; we know what it is to be thirsty," she shared. "We know what it is to think that your life does not matter. So it isn't a lamp; it isn't a purifying object; it's pure love what gets passed around."

"People did it for us, so now we have to do it for others," Cruz continued.

And the mayor of San Juan delivered a special message for CBN's founder and chairman, Dr. Pat Robertson.

"Mr. Robertson, if you see this, thank you because you allowed us to survive and helped us to thrive," Cruz said. "And people will forever be touched by what this organization that you lead is all about."

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