Boca Raton-based group uses private plane to help hurricane victims in Puerto Rico


The humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria is moving local businesses to help and one grassroots effort is coming from some powerful names in hospitality.

John Tolbert, president of Boca's Waldorf Astoria has partnered with Tonya Colazo, a local mother and native of San Juan.

Tolbert has been friends with Colazo for years. The two of them have pulled together mutual friends and business contacts to fly a private jet full of water, diapers, and other goods to Puerto Rico last week.

The group, called "Stronger Better Together," are on a mission to get resources to the hardest hit areas of the island.

"We said let's put our efforts together and try to mobilize something that's really powerful that we can get right directly to the people," Tolbert said.

The group plans on doing a second flight to the island.

"We're doing another run this Saturday," Colazo said. "We're going to take about 7,000 pounds of the supplies."

Colazo took her two sisters and a niece from Puerto Rico and brought them to Florida because of the uncertainty of things on the island.

"Everyone is trying to get out, I don't think that's the solution," Colazo said. "I think we need to stay there and work and try to pick up the island again, but in the short term, yes, it was necessary for some people to get out --especially the sick ones. We are actually bringing two sick people on the plane this Saturday back."

Those who want to help the group are encouraged to check out the group's Facebook page.

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