The tremendous damage Hurricanes Eta and Iota brought to Central America may seem far away, but it weighs heavy on the hearts and minds of many right here in North Alabama.
WAAY-31 spoke with a Madison business that has a special relationship with Nicaragua and another group working to provide relief for all the impacted countries.
"We as Americans have been really affected by COVID-19, but they've been hit even harder with this. Fortunately, we have reserves to be able to be built up like this as a country and withstand the pandemic. They live day to day," said Matt Curtis.
At the Matt Curtis Real Estate Agency, for every 100th home sold in the Tennessee Valley, they build one home in Nicaragua. It's called the Nicaragua Project.
Curtis said the need for stable homes in the area is a necessity. He knows how bad the infrastructure is there, and two hurricanes making landfall there in just two weeks, breaks his heart
"It's a lot of tin roofs, metal buildings and no locks on doors...It's a third world country. What they lack in financial means, they make up for with love and community," he said.
His team isn't the only one helping make a difference.
The Huntsville chapter of the League of United Latin-American Citizens is also collecting donations to send to affected areas. They're asking for apparel, food, water and monetary contributions.
Curtis told us he has this message for people if they can help.
"The need is great. If your heart is led towards those, this is something you can get a huge return on your investment. Most of these families live on less than $2 a day so your dollars, your impact can make a huge difference. You can really change a family's tree," he said.
Curtis said 1 in 4 kids die in Nicaragua due to the lack of proper housing and he plans to head back as soon as coronavirus allows for him to travel. But he says if you can donate and help with any group, to do so.
Curtis said none of the 102 homes his company has built in Nicaragua were damaged by the recent storms, but he said they hope to start building homes next year in areas impacted now by flooding.
To donate via PayPal, visit LULAC’s website and click on PayPal on Project Eta Disaster Relief.