TAMPA, Fla. - In the spirit of giving this Thanksgiving, a Tampa woman is giving all she can to help her native country of Nicaragua following two back to back hurricanes in November that killed over a hundred people and flattened communities in Central America.
Heart-wrenching photos of Hurricane Eta and Hurricane Iota’s destruction in Nicaragua are personal for Idorny Valderrama. She was born and raised in Puerto Cabezas, a small town of more than 60,000 people that endured both hurricanes two weeks apart.
“The worst part in my case is the first two days when I don't hear from my family,” said Valderrama, who has lived in Tampa for 18 years.
Her sister, mother, and cousins sent her shattering images of what’s left of their homes.
“It's so hard it's gone. Most of the area, there is no house,” she said. “They don't have food, most of the people. They've been starving. They are looking where they can find food to eat.”
Since then, Idorny has taken on supporting them however she can.
“I've been sending money. I’ve also been sending now food from other people to at least support with a plate of food because they need it. Everybody needs it right now.”
But she said there is so much more that’s needed. Idorny put out calls on social media this week asking for donations, and she hopes people will hear her call for help. So far, she has rallied up a few boxes of donated clothes and non-perishable food, but she hopes for more.
Idorny plans to hold a donation drive on Saturday at 5417 N Lois Ave, a lot behind a Walgreens off Hillsborough Avenue, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Tampa. She said she is looking for clothing of all ages and sizes, blankets, and non-perishable food.
She hopes a giving heart this holiday season will help shelter not just her family but dozens more in Puerto Cabezas.
“Clothes, food, dollars, even 50 cents, we need that. Whatever we can get, my hometown they need,” said Idorny. She said she and her husband will pack up the donations themselves and then drive to Orlando or Miami to mail them off to Nicaragua.