Quebec lumber and supplies headed for Puerto Rico and southern U.S.

A cargo ship will leave Baie-Comeau, Que., on Sunday with supplies destined for Puerto Rico. Resolute Forest Products says the plea came from one of its employees who is originally from the country, devastated by the passing of Hurricane Maria.

Companies on Quebec's North Shore sending aid to devastated zones

Baie-Comeau's Maxi grocery store, on Quebec's North Shore, pitched in to gather non-perishable goods. (Benoît Jobin/Radio-Canada)

A cargo ship will depart Baie-Comeau, Que., on Sunday to deliver supplies to Puerto Rico, ravaged by the passing of Hurricane Maria.

Most of the U.S. territory's 3.4 million residents remain without power and are struggling to find clean water and fuel.

Resolute Forest Products said an employee at its Montreal headquarters, who is originally from Puerto Rico, brought the idea forward.

''When we saw the extent of the damage, we asked ourselves how we could help,'' said the company's director of public affairs, Karl Blackburn.

Blackburn said Resolute worked closely with aid organizations on the ground to determine the most pressing needs.

''We were asked to send drinking water and local companies pitched in to add non-perishables,'' said Blackburn.

Resolute Forest Products said San Juan's port facilities are able to receive major shipments like the one leaving Baie-Comeau on Sunday. (Benoît Jobin/Radio-Canada)

Blackburn estimates that the total value of the shipment has doubled to around $10,000 with the help of Baie-Comeau's Maxi grocery store.

''We made sure to send only items that will be needed,'' said the store's manager Christian Genest.

The cargo ship is expected to reach the country's capital by mid-October.

It was already scheduled to dock in San Juan to deliver paper supplies to its regular clients, Blackburn told CBC News.
People fill containers with water at an area hit by Hurricane Maria in Canovanas, Puerto Rico, Sept. 26. (Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters)

Rebuilding homes in southern U.S.

Resolute Forest Products is also working out the final details to send construction materials to Houston, Tex., badly hit by Hurricane Harvey at the end of August, as well as southern Florida, pummeled by Hurricane Irma in September.

''We will be sending wood from the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean to rebuild homes,'' said Karl Blackburn. 

The company has partnered with the international aid organization Habitat for Humanity.

Darius Smith, 9, is surrounded by water damaged property as he plays at Crofton Place Apartments in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey in Houston on Sept. 8. (Chris Aluka Berry/Reuters)

Blackburn said the call for action also came from an employee who had worked in Houston.

After hearing first-hand accounts of the devastation left by Irma from former colleagues he asked the company to send a truck load of wood to help reconstruction efforts.

''Richard Garneau [the president and CEO] answered let's send a whole wagon load,'' said Blackburn, estimating the value of each shipment at $50,000. 

With files from Radio-Canada's Marlène Joseph-Blais