Jessenia’s Story: Hurricane Maria Survivor

Blog Jessenia Hurricane Maria

Five years ago, on September 20, 2017, Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico and changed the lives of millions. Individuals and families lost loved ones and were left in ruins after Hurricane Maria devastated their island. 
When the storm hit, Heart of Florida United Way (HFUW) sprang into action to do what we could to support those in need. We met so many incredible people along the way —  like Jessenia De Jesus.  
Watch this video to hear Jessenia tell her story. 

When Hurricane Maria was making its way through Puerto Rico, Jessenia and her one-year-old son at the time, who was diagnosed with multiple health conditions, were living in Puerto Rico. 

When Jessenia arrived at Orlando International Airport, she came across HFUW at The Welcome Center. At this moment, Jessenia met HFUW’s Manager of Partner Agencies and Diversity Initiatives Delitza Fernandez. 

Our HFUW staff was available full-time to provide resources to individuals and families, like Jessenia and her son.   

Fast-forward five years since Jessenia and her son evacuated from Puerto Rico, Jessenia was able to rebuild a life in Florida for herself and her son. Jessenia now works two jobs while studying accounting online and being a wonderful mother to her son.  

Jessenia said, “United Way was my first option at the airport, and I am so happy about that.”  

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