WHEAT RIDGE, Colo. (CBS4) – In her Wheat Ridge home, Evelyn Cartagena-Meyer has been packing for two days.
She knows she’s going to have pay overage fees once she gets to the airport. She has five suitcases, and she admits, “They’re all overweight. It’s pretty heavy.”
Cartagena-Meyer is taking 700 solar-powered lights back to her home town of Salinas, Puerto Rico.
She collected them for the people who are still without power following a devastating hurricane season.
“Puerto Rico is my home. I’m proud to be Puerto Rican, and I want to help my people in Puerto Rico,” she said.
Parts of the island have been without power ever since Hurricane Maria made landfall in September. That includes many of Cartagena-Meyer’s friends and family.
“My parents… they don’t live in the mountains, but they don’t have light yet,” she said. “Can you imagine camping… for 50 days?” she asked.
Now in Wheat Ridge, she felt like she needed to help. “I just can’t stand here in Colorado and not do anything,” she said.
Cartagena-Meyer raised more than $50,000 which she used to buy tarps, water purification systems, food, medical supplies, and the solar-powered lights.
She then shipped most of it to Puerto Rico. “This gives people sense of security,” she said.
This will be the first time Cartagena-Meyer returns to Salinas since the storm.
She knows things will be different because of all the destruction caused by the hurricane, but she is bringing a little light with her from Colorado to help Puerto Ricans though their darkest hours.
“That’s hope, and I want to give them that,” she said.
Cartagena-Meyer is accepting donations on her YouCaring site: Giving Light 2 Puerto Rico