PARK SLOPE, Brooklyn — A well-known Park Slope barbershop is collecting emergency relief supplies to send to Puerto Rico.
Brooklyn Master Barbershop has been in business for 15 years and they've become a part of the Puerto Rican community in Brooklyn. Both the owner, Nester Guzman, and master barber, Erik Casanova are Puerto Rican. They’re heartbroken to see what's left of the island after Hurricane Maria tore through. So much natural beauty has now turned to devastation. Puerto Rico is facing a humanitarian crisis. Some of Casanova's loved ones are among the more than 3 million American citizens living in Puerto Rico.
“I have a lot of family members out in Ponce, San Juan, all these high in the mountains where there’s no electricity, no water, there’s no way to reach family members and because of that, it’s scary and here we are, we have a country right there next door to us and it's turning into a jungle,” said Casanova.
Casanova talked to PIX11 Tuesday. Donation items are piled high in the corner of the barbershop: bottled water, non-perishable foods, canned goods, diapers, shoes, even toilet paper.
“I’m just asking for anyone to have a heart, bring anything that it takes. It doesn’t matter what you have, waters, diapers, baby wipes, canned food, clothing, things you wouldn’t normally have to say you’re using or you think someone else couldn’t use. All those things ae welcome in this shop and we do collect every day and every week we ship out,” Casanova said.
The barbershop is working with Brooklyn Assemblyman Felix Ortiz, who is organizing relief flights to deliver emergency supplies to the island.
“To us, they may be basic but to them it may be something to keep them warm, to keep them dry, to keep them at least for the moment they going through, till the real help comes,” said Casanova.
Since the hurricane nearly two weeks ago, the Brooklyn master barber shop has collected almost 7,000 pounds of hurricane relief items for the people of Puerto Rico. Sadly, they know that is only a fraction of what is needed.
“Please, for PR or for all the countries that have been affected with this, we need the help because its Godly and it’s very amazing people can open up their hearts and do what they have to do for them. We’re just looking for any help we can because we know Puerto Rico will be rebuilt stronger and more powerful than it’s ever been, we don’t give up.”