Barranquitas, Puerto Rico - Since the impact of Hurricane Irma and Maria, just six months ago, Puerto Rico remains devastated. Power remains out for many, and some areas have no running water. The Salvation Army continues to determinedly serve those in need, going to remote pockets where supplies and resources are scarce. It’s hard to imagine what life is like when it is a struggle to recover even the basic essentials. A sense of sadness and tragedy is practically palatable, but there remains hope and help. The true face of humanity at its greatest.
The Salvation Army’s warehouse in Caguas opens at 8:00 am, where partner groups of churches and organizations are already gathered, waiting in line for necessities including food and water to pack and give to communities in need.
The Chapel at Mount Claire Church of New Jersey came to Puerto Rico to volunteer with The Salvation Army for a week during spring break. On this day, the volunteer church group drove key resources from The Salvation Army to Barranquitas, the site of the day’s distribution, where approximately 300 people were waiting. As the trucks were unloaded and distribution began, members of The Chapel at Mount Claire went to their assigned stations. A variety of much-needed supplies were given including milk, mixed fruit, rice, peanut butter, nutrition bars, beans, soup, toiletries, baby supplies, water filters, socks, and fuel containers. Although the language barrier was challenging, the look of gratitude and appreciation were apparent. Smiles, hand-holding and hugs were abundantly given and the outpouring of love from the people of Puerto Rico was felt deep in the souls of The Salvation Army’s volunteers.
One such survivor, Cindia, a mother of a sixteen–year-old boy from the Barranquitas area, was grateful to receive these supplies that would help her family for about a week. She still has no power, 200 days after the hurricanes struck. “It’s been very difficult, really upsetting,” Cindia said. Even traveling to the distribution site was not easy for Cindia. There’s a mountain to cross, and she knows when she returns home, she will enter a dark house. “It’s very difficult. I look at my watch every night – 5, 6, 7 o’clock and still no power.” Her mother recently had a heart attack and the night before, her uncle fell, compounding her situation.
As Levid Ortiz, a volunteer of this distribution and organizer of PR 4PR looks on to those families being served, he processes and feels thanks. He said, “Maybe God sent me to do what I’m doing,” Ortiz said. “The Salvation Army has been all around the island. They bring a lot of hope.”About The Salvation Army