BY MYRIAM MARQUEZ
Behind the yellow tape blocking the side street in a residential neighborhood in
''This has been my job for 30 years,'' she says, smiling.
Her ''job'' in the Catholic order of the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul is to serve the poor with good deeds as much as kind words. Feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, shelter the homeless -- Catholic works of mercy that know no political boundaries, only God's love.
As people from
Now is no time to debate. It's time to do -- and our community knows it.
The Daughters of Charity have found overwhelming support from
In just six days, the sisters have sent four 40-foot containers with $100,000 worth of food, water and medicines to the
It all started with Sister Hilda Alonso, the 87-year-old nun who heads the Daughters of Charity in
Since 1994, the six nuns have sent containers to
For years, her former Inmaculada students have dropped by the nuns' tidy, spare home with donations, knowing they will get to the right people.
As she sat at her metal desk next to her twin-size bed with a white cotton cover in her little bedroom, Sor Hilda, as the sister is called in Spanish, noted that by the end of this week the nuns will have shipped about six containers -- as much as they usually do in the entire year.
''It's been extraordinary, the generosity of those who live here,'' she told me, adding that people of all ethnicities were coming by to give.
It's not just goods -- it's also money that's needed. It costs $5,000 to ship a 40-foot container to
I had heard about Sor Hilda's good works for years, and this summer I had visited her with a friend to learn more about this little woman from tobacco country in Pinar del Río who has taken on such a mammoth job. For all her years of hard work, she's still the Energizer Bunny -- but without the drums to call attention to herself.
As one Inmaculada volunteer told me Thursday about the nun she knew in
Now the sisters are working around the clock to get emergency aid to
The nuns in
''We are sending to the places that have seen the worst devastation,'' she said.
Next week, the nuns will start collecting sheets and other needs. But today, it's all about food, water and other essentials.
Most of all, it's about unconditional love.
The Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul are accepting food, water, medicine and linens for hurricane victims in