Since Hurricane Maria hit on Sept. 20, the news has been full of images, videos and stories of communities in Puerto Rico that were destroyed by the storm. When we as Christ-followers see suffering and devastation like this, we often want to jump into action immediately and help in whatever way we can. Although this may have been our first instinct when the storm hit, what was initially being asked of us as an organization was to simply wait. Communities needed time as they waited for aid to start flowing to the island and time for local relief efforts to mobilize. And so we waited and prayed.
Now, just two weeks post-hurricane, our partners and past summer staff in Puerto Rico are sharing with us some ways we can help. For churches, partners and other friends of YouthWorks who are wanting to donate to the relief efforts in Puerto Rico, here are two organizations that are collecting donations and using the funds directly in the local communities. These organizations are not only trusted organizations, but also long-time partners and friends.
For churches who have been on a trip with us to Arecibo, you may remember Sicómoro, one of our long-time service partners and some of YouthWorks’ biggest advocates on the island. Arecibo has suffered significant damage by Hurricane Maria. Sicómoro is collecting monetary donations that will be used to meet the needs of children and families who have been directly impacted by Hurricane Maria in Arecibo, many of whom have lost everything. As these needs are met over time, the organization will reassess and shift their focus to more long-term recovery efforts in Arecibo.
Catacumba 7–Grandview Park Presbyterian Church:
The city of Caguas was also hit hard by Hurricane Maria. Through efforts of a previous partner and community advocate, we have been connected with Catacumba 7, a church in Caguas. The church has been on the ground distributing supplies to those most in need ever since the storm hit. They are now collecting monetary donations that will be used to purchase the necessary supplies to continue their relief efforts. The fund was created in partnership with Grandview Park Presbyterian Church in Kansas City, Kan., which also happens to be a major community partner for YouthWorks in the Kansas City area.
There are so many organizations collecting monetary and physical donations that it’s sometimes hard to know where these donations actually go and if they are reaching the people that are truly in need. By making a donation to either of these partners, you can be sure that your contribution will be going directly to the community.
Regardless of whether or not you feel led to donate, communities in Puerto Rico are still in need of prayer and support. Please join us as we continue to pray for the ongoing relief and recovery efforts on the island, and consider ways you can partner and serve.
—Annie Grell, YouthWorks staff