Hurricane Epilogue: Foss Donates Tons of Food to Needy in Puerto Rico

Foss Director of Cargo Operations Roberrt Wagoner met with Sisters Carmen Diaz and Juana from the Santa Marta Retirement Home, which received a Foss donation of two box-truck loads of perishables. The tug Corbin Foss is in the background.

Foss donated two box-truck loads of perishables and six containers of dry and frozen foods to a retirement home, a needy community and a church in Puerto Rico as the company wound down its hurricane relief efforts on the Caribbean island territory.

The surplus food, which included everything from fruit juice and granola bars to eggs and beef, was what remained when Foss’s contract with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) expired in mid- December. Under the contract, Foss operated a hotel barge in Ponce and two other vessels for food distribution in Mayguez.

The two vessels in Mayguez first had been in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, for three weeks to house relief workers there.

The perishables went to the Santa Marta retirement home in Ponce soon after the contract ended. Representatives from Foss’s agent in Puerto Rico (Luis Ayala Colon), Teresa Marquez and Javier Vargas made the connection, and two nuns came to the Ponce Port to help retrieve the bounty.

“They were humble, graceful and thankful for what they received,” said Robert Wagoner, Foss director of cargo operations, who coordinated the donations. “They were overwhelmed that there was so much food, and they gladly accepted the donation.”

Puerto Rican National Guardsmen loaded perishables into a refrigerated container at the Port of Ponce.

The second donation of three refrigerated containers and one containing dry foods went to the community of Humacao, which Wagoner said was particularly hard hit by the back-to-back hurricanes last September.

Helping to make those arrangements were Hernan Ayala, who is president of the Puerto Rico Shipping Association, and Eduardo Pagan, TOTE Maritime’s Island manager in Puerto Rico and vice president of the trade group.

FEMA arranged the most recent charitable gift of two dry containers to a Seventh-day Adventist church in Ponce.

“It was a very good feeling to be able to contribute back to the country, because there definitely was a need,” Wagoner said. “Foss did a good thing.”

Meanwhile in April, Foss was towing back to the states seven barge loads of nearly 600 electrical utility vehicles that were used to repair damage caused to Puerto Rico’s electrical power grid by the hurricanes. Wagoner said then that power had been restored to 98 percent of the island.

The utility vehicles were being delivered to Lake Charles, Louisiana, Norfolk, Virginia, and Mobile, Alabama.