PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — It’s been a hectic few months for 58-year-old Ivan Cardona.
He’s currently a student in Temple University’s Fox School’s Executive Doctorate in Business Administration program. He’s also A Puerto Rico resident.READ MORE: Philadelphia Police Searching For 13-Year-Old Leienna Cuevas Last Seen At Home In Rhawnhurst
Cardona would travel back and forth between Puerto Rico and Philadelphia. And on one of his trips back home in September…
“It just happens that I got back to Puerto Rico 24 hours before Maria hit,” he tells KYW Newsradio.
Cardona has two daughters in Puerto Rico and also owns a business. He couldn’t believe the devastation Hurricane Maria left behind.
“I’ve never seen a Hurricane with such fury,” he says. “It was an awful experience.”
After that, whenever he returned to Puerto Rico from Philadelphia, Cardona says he would bring water, food, and supplies to his hurricane-ravaged home.READ MORE: CBS3 Pet Project: PSPCA's Biggest Fundraiser Of Year, Bark & Whine Gala, Going Virtual Again This Year
With the help of several other organizations, he coordinated a massive Thanksgiving dinner for people there. And recently, he organized a toy drive.
Presents were delivered to 2,700 children from twelve communities in Puerto Rico that were most affected this hurricane season.
“Just goes along with the holiday season very well,” says Cardona. “It’s the season for giving.”
And those toys arrived just in time for Christmas.
“A little happiness during Christmas,” Cardona adds. “Have (the children) not think about the hurricane, but just think about their youthful existence and just enjoy the season.”
Cardona organized a second toy drive. Those presents ship out on January 4th, two days before Three Kings Day.MORE NEWS: Police: Man, 2 Children Injured In Crash In Willingboro