Annual gala raises funds for hurricane ravaged Puerto Rico

CHICAGO --   The damage from Hurricane Maria is causing anxiety for relatives here in Chicago waiting to hear from loved ones in Puerto Rico.

Tonight relief efforts were the focus of an annual event at the National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts and Culture.

Maria is the most powerful Hurricane to hit Puerto Rico in 80 years. The island of 3.5 million people has been pummeled by the storm that lasted hours with winds in excess of 150 mph essentially destroying the power grid, toppling cell towers and ripping the roofs off homes and businesses

The flooding in so many parts it is still difficult to calculate and rescue workers have only just begun as the number of people hurt or killed remains unknown.

At The National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts and Culture annual gala, Maria and the damage she has delivered was all the talk and from talk it turned into plans of action.

Former Alderman and now Museum CEO Billy Ocasio, like so many people, can't reach loved ones on the island.

“The island will never be what we remember it as,” he said. “We are trying to get through to my family. I'm just glad today the president has declared a disaster area.”

Honored guest legendary Hollywood star and Puerto Rican native Rita Moreno says she's already heard from Hamilton creator Lyn Manuel Miranda

“All we can do is react and do everything we can,” she said. “I already got a notice from Lin Manuel Miranda. They are putting together something, but I don't even think they know what to do yet. The first thing I would guess is to get power back.”