Tulsa Student Miles Away As Family Rides Out Tropical Storm Maria

Tuesday, September 26th 2017, 10:10 pm
By: Justin Shrair

As Tropical Storm Maria moves up the east coast, people in Puerto Rico are trying to get by on few supplies and fading hope.

Many people with family and friends in Puerto Rico are worried.

An Oral Roberts University student's family rode out the storm.

That student said she's scared and feels helpless, knowing that she's far away from her home, while her family and many others are in need of help.

9/25/2017 Related Story: Destructive Hurricane Maria Sets Puerto Rico Back Decades, Official Says

"I remember the sun. I remember the beach, it just really home for me," said Joanirie Font.

The night before Maria arrived, Puerto Rican Font went to bed, thousands of miles away, not expecting much.

She woke up the next day stunned. 

"Remember looking at my phone and seeing that it's 6 a.m. in the morning, and seeing a bunch of text messages from my sister," Font said.

She said at first she had no contact with her family as they rode out the storm.

"I remember just turning on the TV and being so scared, 'cause at this point I am trying to call them, after I receive all these text messages," Font said.

When she finally made contact, she learned of the devastation.

Maria flooded her family's home and ripped open the church where her dad is a pastor.

"I wake up in the morning in my dorm, that's my home, but I know that my parents are waking up somewhere else that is not their home," Font said.

She said her mom was in line for three hours just to get into a supermarket and lines for gas were unimaginable.

But what hit Font the hardest was learning while she's able to to eat and sleep in a safe place, her family — and thousands of others — are struggling.

"I'm sitting there just eating two tacos, and I'm just eating there and I'm like, what if my sisters don't have anything to eat," Font said.

But Font said amid all the chaos and destruction, she knows the people of Puerto Rico are resilient.

"They're the ones who might not have anything, but they're the first ones to give when somebody needs help," Font said.

To help with relief efforts in Puerto Rico, visit the websites for Red Cross and UNICEF.