A doomsday prepper in New Jersey has decided to send all the food that he’s been amassing for several decades to the victims of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico.
Joseph Badame, 74, told the Washington Post that his late wife, Phyliss, came up with the idea for the survival bunker. After two years in the Peace Corps and the violent Camden riots in 1969 and 1971, Phyliss and Joseph began building a larger home with a fallout shelter.
Badame, an architect, designed the property and he and his wife continued to fill the shelter for 40 years. Phyliss had a stroke in 2005 and Badame began to care for her fulltime. In 2013, she had another stroke and passed away. Since then, Badame told NJ.com, he hasn’t felt the same about the shelter. Last month, the bank foreclosed on the property.
“This will never be a survival dwelling for Phyliss or I,” he told NJ.com.
The house was meant to hold the couple and potentially up to 100 other family and friends.
Last month, Badame met Victoria and Anthony Barber, who run a Puerto Rican food truck, and Victoria told him how some of her relatives were now without food in the aftermath of Maria. Badame responded by telling her that she could have all the food in his basement.
“Those people are starving and they have nothing,” he said to the Post. “I just can’t sit by.”
Badame had 80 barrels in his basement, each of which weighed 360 pounds. Each barrel was filled with non perishables, such as rice, dried beans, flour, and sugar. The food, which Badame said he was going to lose anyway because of the foreclosure, can feed 84 people for up to 4 months, according to NBC4.
“I can’t put into words just how much food there was,” Victoria told the Post. “It was enough to feed a town.”
Half of the barrels were flown to San Juan on Friday, Victoria told the Washington Post. Trucks will then deliver the barrels to Arecibo, the city where she grew up.
The Barbers plan to deliver the rest of the barrels to another area of Puerto Rico later on.
In other relief news, Tidal, which partnered with Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Empire State Relief and Recovery Effort, has sent off a cargo plan with 200,000 pounds of supplies to the island. Fat Joe told CNN that they’ve received about 2 million pounds of supplies.
Yesterday Vice President Mike Pence toured a San Juan neighborhood and told reporters that the Trump administration will be “here for the long haul,” the Washington Post reported. His visit was in contrast with Trump’s on Tuesday, were he tossed paper towels to onlookers and compared Hurricane Maria with Katrina, which he called a “real catastrophe.”
The visit also came while the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) was getting criticized for removing statistics about Puerto Rico’s access to water and electricity. The statistics were restored on Friday.