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Jun 28, 2019

Changes Abound in St. Thomas and St. John!

Dear friends and supporters,

There have been some big changes since our last update - a mix of exciting and very bittersweet. 

In St. Thomas, our program officially closed on April 30th after 20 months of response and recovery efforts. Our team was incredibly sad to leave the communities that made them feel so at home, but they were grateful too that All Hands and Hearts was able to stay for so long furthering recovery on the island as a whole. To celebrate the completion of the program, our team gathered with the community at the newly revitalized Alvin McBean Recreation Park for food and a celebratory ballgame. The efforts of our St. Thomas team yielded the completion of 930 jobs, benefiting over 6,000 people! Thank you for following our progress for the past 20 months, and for showing you care about the wonderful people of St. Thomas. Linked below is a blog story about one of the incredible projects our teams had the privilege of completing, for a gentleman who gives back to his community every day. His story is truly a sentiment of how resilient the people of St. Thomas have been and will continue to be for years to come.

In St. John, teams are working hard repairing homes to a beautiful finished state where homeowners can finally return without worrying about the wind and water-damage they may face. For context, some of these homeowners have been displaced for more than one year because of the unsafe condition of their homes. It is truly heartwarming to participate in a process that brings so much joy back to the lives of our beneficiaries, and we are grateful for your support which helps make it all possible! As we continue working on this beautiful island, we are mindful that this program too will soon be coming to a close. Our program in St. John is set to wrap up at the end of July. Until that time, teams are continuing to actively participate in community-hosted events, making connections with friendly faces old and new. Most recently, 25 team members signed up to help host the “Music is Life” music festival, held annually in Coral Bay. Additionally, another 15 volunteered to help the Friends of Virgin Islands National Park host their annual “Beach to Beach” swimming competition which had 125 participants this year! We truly value any opportunity to engage with community members, and to learn more about the lives of those we are working hard to help. To date in St. John, our teams have worked on 286 sites, completing 460 jobs, touching the lives of 1,186 people. 

Linked below is an additional story where you can learn about the volunteer experience, and how working in the USVI has meant so much to six volunteers that were able to join us there. Thank you for continuing to support the efforts of All Hands and Hearts, and I look forward to updating you again!

Community Ballgame at Alvin Mcbean Recreation Park
Community Ballgame at Alvin Mcbean Recreation Park
Volunteers in St. John
Volunteers in St. John
Volunteers helping at the "Beach to Beach" race
Volunteers helping at the "Beach to Beach" race

Links:

Jun 7, 2019

See What's New With AHAH in North Carolina...

Hello Donors!

Recovery work is in full swing in North Carolina, and we are excited to update you on our progress! It’s almost been nine months since Hurricane Florence made landfall, and there is still a great deal of work to be done. We are working in the New Bern area, working hard to clean up water damage and conduct the critical repair work that will return families to the comfort and safety of their homes. The optimism and hope that these communities have is contagious, and we are truly honored to participate in the work that is helping make recovery a reality for them.

When our teams started this phase of work, they quickly realized that roofing would be a significant obstacle. According to Skip Lee, Chief Building Inspector for Pamlico Co., approximately 85% of the 7,000+ roofs in Pamlico County were impacted by the storm. Even if a roof sustained minor damage, we have to make sure there is no chance that it could leak water into the home the next time it rains risking the development of mold. Roofing work can be expensive for homeowners, and it doesn’t typically fall under our scope of work - but, we recognized that finding a way to incorporate this kind of work into our own would make a big difference for homeowners feeling “stuck” in their recovery timeline. So, we started the All Hands and Hearts Roofing Pilot which now includes staff with roofing expertise! We hope to repair 15-18 roofs in tandem with our typical scope of work, allowing us to help even more homeowners and their families move forward with recovery faster. So far, the team has successfully finished six roofs (shingle and metal based), with another four added to the queue!

Another focus for our team this quarter has been the use of resilient materials and techniques on projects. We recognize that the areas in which we work may eventually face a new flood event. Our goal is to take steps now that will better prepare homeowners - so, should they experience flooding in their home again, they are better equipped to deal with the damage quickly, easily, and inexpensively. One example of a resilient building material we use is styrofoam insulation; not only is it a very effective insulator, but it is also exceptionally water resistant. Other resiliency techniques we are utilizing include raising the outlets to four feet high, using AC window units instead of ground duct HVAC systems, and creating a moisture barrier at 4 feet (to prevent water soaking higher into drywall).

To wrap things up, I want to share the latest numbers “from the field” with you! Since our last report, we have worked on 168 homes, helping 478 people!

Thank you for helping make this incredible impact possible.

Insulation ready to be installed
Insulation ready to be installed
May 17, 2019

Progress Worth Celebrating!

Yabucoa team after finishing their 300th roof
Yabucoa team after finishing their 300th roof

Greetings from All Hands and Hearts!

This quarter, we have some news that we truly think is worthy of a celebration: our Puerto Rico teams have officially finished repairing and sealing their 300th concrete roof! In the grand scheme of things, this may seem like a small indication of progress; but, for 300 homeowners and their families, this means being in their homes without worrying about leaks and mold growth each time it rains.

Teams are working closely with the people of Yabucoa, always looking for ways to engage the larger community and identify locally-based projects that could use the support of All Hands and Hearts. We are currently in the process of identifying a community baseball field that our teams could revitalize! Projects like this have a tremendous spirit-lifting effect on the community, which is why we try to work on similar projects at each of our active programs around the world. I will continue to keep you updated as this project develops!

In addition to the 300 concrete roof repairs the team has completed, they have finished 586 other jobs! These jobs range from debris and tree removal, to mucking and gutting, to sanitization of mold - all of which are important steps for families working so hard to return to a sense of normalcy following Hurricanes Irma and Maria. We are so proud of the Yabucoa team and all the work they have accomplished so far. Thank you for helping make all of this possible.

We look forward to updating you again soon!

 
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