Puerto Rican boxer partners with Illinois food bank with hurricane relief efforts

Tuesday, October 24, 2017
GENEVA, Ill. (WLS) -- Two famous native Puerto Ricans have partnered with the Northern Illinois Food Bank to send supplies to victims of Hurricane Maria.

On Tuesday, one of the celebrities -- heavyweight boxer Fres Oquendo, who was born on the island and raised in Chicago -- was at the food bank's Geneva facility to help prepare a special shipment.

Volunteers helped sort and pack thousands of pounds of food, for 8,000 meals, that are destined for Puerto Rico.

"Just to hear that food is not getting to those in dire need, we've got to do something about it," said Oquendo, a WBA regular heavyweight contender.

Oquendo and his team will be in Puerto Rico when this shipment arrives in a couple of weeks.

"It's very urgent to get there. I just got to get there to make sure things are delivered," he said.

Oquendo and musician Daddy Yankee helped get some of the first supplies to the island after Hurricane Maria. Now, they are partnering with the Northern Illinois Food Bank to continue relief efforts.

"The reality, my family was telling me, is that it's going to be years before things get back to normal. And they're scrambling for bits and pieces of food and water," Oquendo said.

The Northern Illinois Food Bank is the country's fifth largest food bank and has helped with other natural disasters relief efforts.

"We know that the need in Puerto Rico is going to be months and years and we are here for months and years to help our neighbors down there," said Julie Yurko, president and CEO of the Northern Illinois Food Bank.

The food bank's donation will be part of 50 truckloads sent to Puerto Rico with Feeding America over the next ten weeks.

"They need help, they are our neighbors no matter where they live," said volunteer John Habegger.
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