Despite best intentions, Puerto Rico relief bottleneck remains

Even a month after Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico, people are in desperate need of even the most basic relief supplies.

"There are so many that have lost absolutely everything," said Judy Mundy of By Word of Mouth Ministries.

Mundy and others are frustrated that the donations they have collected in Polk County are not getting to the people who need them as quickly as they should.  On Monday, she and others sat in a North Lakeland warehouse instead of loading donations into a container so they could be shipped to Puerto Rico.

The container never showed up because of delays.

"As much as we try to get things done quickly because we know how desperate the situation is, there are many pitfalls and walls and things that go wrong," said Zoriada Colon-Munoz-Collado of the Puerto Rican Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, one of the groups that collected the supplies.

Other organizations such as Lakeland Electric are facing similar situations. The utility planned on sending 20 linemen to the island on Monday, but didn't because their trucks – which were supposed to already be there -- haven't shipped out from the port in Jacksonville. 

Even when supplies eventually arrive, it's not uncommon for them to be stolen.

"They're going be there when the container is released and they're going to escort it out to the church," Dory Thomas of United City told FOX 13.