A hurricane is a compelling force of nature, a fearful devastating thing. Just one hurricane can leave lands in ruin, level houses, take out lives and render an existence as it was known into nothing in a matter of moments. That is one hurricane, but how about three in one region in a matter of days? Their names are kind enough, Harvey, Irma and Maria, but now those names are historically linked to the massacre of land, islands and countries in late 2017.
When Maria, as a category 4 hurricane rolled through in September, it hit the island at a time of financial crisis, adding insult to injury. To further complicate things, while the United States Congress has approved a post-hurricane loan to Puerto Rico, it has been not only cut in half, but the loan is delayed. At this point the Puerto Rico government officials are concerned about having to cut some essential services to maintain other services also deemed essential. This coupled with the fact that around half of the island still is without electricity and clean water, is a blow the tiny island cannot handle. Tourism, the leading economic provider has been impacted as travelers are concerned about the conditions of the area.
All of this has left a vast need in that country, a need that volunteers of all kinds are trying to answer. And although many have responded from churches to humanitarian groups to civic organizations, the need is still there and growing it seems.
HOW CAN YOU HELP?
Donations of money and supplies have helped, but the donation of time as a volunteer is still one of the biggest needs. With wide spread damage such as this, the actual hands and feet in that country that could aid is limited as they too are in the same place of devastation.
There are groups active there that are looking for volunteers, so whether you are 1 person or a team of 50, much work is to be done all over the country. There is a need for hard workers in Utuado to clear and pick up wreckage. There is a volunteer need to clear structures and rebuild for the residents of Yabucoa and Barranquitas. A church in San Juan is in need of volunteers and water so that they can along with an army of volunteers deliver it to a vast amount of the surrounding area without drinking water. There are teams that need strong backs to deliver donated and purchased furniture to those further along in the recovery process. Habitat for Humanity has established a needs list in various areas of Puerto Rico to build houses and are in need of people to come alongside of them in this process. There is also a food bank that not only gives food but prepares meals for those who need assistance; they too need people to assist in their everyday work.
So while the needs are great, there is much hope to get this country back up on their feet again. It feels like a large task but with help from people just like you or your organization, your church or school, it is a “doable” work.
So how do you get involved? You just start. Start talking to your group of people; tell them the needs that are still a reality for thousands of people. Unfortunately, this story of these people has been often put to the back of the newsfeed, but it is important and even imperative that someone helps them when they are in many ways helpless to move forward.
Then make a plan. We have a list of volunteer based organizations that you can group with there in Puerto Rico. It takes one call to find out the needs and what the next steps are from there.
Hopefully, prayerfully, many reading this will be stirred to assist with this great project of not only rebuilding a country, but restoring its people.
GROUPSOURCE TRAVEL 800-800-2519