Chicago students depart for Puerto Rico to aid in hurricane relief

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Help from Chicago was on its way to Puerto Rico Sunday as several local students departed to help with hurricane relief.

The group included representatives from Storehouse Church in Portage Park, seven Chicago Public High Schools, and a local college. The students are making the trip during their spring break.

"I just saw this opportunity, and I know I'd rather go out and spend my spring break knowing I helped other people out than by just meeting my own needs," said CPS student Faith Ramos.

"A lot of things we don't know until we get there, but we're going to be helping with housing, with painting, with repairs," said Sheile Poole of Storehouse Church. "We're going to help out with a few churches. Helping the elderly."

The idea for the trip came in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Maria six months ago. The church collected and sent 300,000 pounds of food to the island, but the students wanted to do more.

They have since raised $1,000 each to pay for their trip to the island.

"We sold raffle tickets after every service," said CPS student Caleb Ramos. "We sold food. We just asked for donations."

Like many from the church, Caleb's family is from Puerto Rico. Caleb's father, Charles Ramos, said he believes the trip will be an eye-opening experience for his son.

"Its going to be a very different world. I already warned him," Charles Ramos said. "Over there you're going to see people in despair, people in need. We take for granted the water we have in water bottles here. I can look around see half empty bottles. Those half empty bottles over there is a life saver for someone."

The students' trip follows a three day humanitarian visit by Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Congressman Luis Gutierrez.
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