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Jan 31, 2020

Lutheran Disaster Response - St Croix Volunteer Re

A Mississippi church group volunteering
A Mississippi church group volunteering

The Lutheran Disaster Response (LDR) Volunteer Rebuilding program on St Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands continues rebuilding homes and restoring hope for the most vulnerable citizens.  December 2019 marked our 18th month of hosting volunteer construction teams.   In that time we have worked on 64 houses.  Our primary work is roofing, everything from stopping leaks to replacing sheathing to building entire new roofs.  We continue to prioritize the homes of low income senior citizens and persons with disabilities who are living in their hurricane damaged homes.  We do not stop at roofing.  Our construction motto is "safe and dry and sanitary and functional".  To carry this out, we replace doors and windows, build steps and wheelchair ramps and make sure there is a functioning bathroom and kitchen.  Our volunteers provide the labor and through the generosity of GlobalGiving donors we help pay for the building materials.

During a recent Last Nail House Blessing Service, a church sister of the homeowner told the volunteers that before LDR came, the homeowner had given up that anyone was going to help her. For two years this elderly lady lived in a house that couldn’t be locked, with limited electricity, getting wet each time it rained.  Lots of people came, measured her house and promised help, and she never saw them again.  We kept our promise to her and today she is in a rebuilt home.  This house lost its roof in hurricanes Hugo (1989) and Maria (2017).  We changed the design of the roof, raised the pitch, used stronger materials and securely anchored the roof to the walls.  We do not want her to lose a roof again.

Since we began recruiting volunteers we have had 840 volunteers of whom 589 worked with us for at least two weeks.  They have come in 54 different groups.  Combined, our rebuilding volunteers have put in 50,268 hours of labor.

As of November 2019, FEMA stopped the invitational travel assistance for volunteer builders.  That was a benefit whereby FEMA provided airfare and a per diem for our volunteers.  Since then volunteers have come on their own or through assistance we have been able to put together from various sources.  Without the FEMA assistance it has been harder to recruit teams as there are so many other areas that need rebuilding that are less expensive to get to.  However, we are perservering.  

 Presently we are recruiting volunteer teams for the first half of 2020.   We have one hundred homeowners in our queue who have asked us for assistance so lots of critical work remains to be done.  We frequently get new requests for assistance.  

Use of Funds:  GlobalGiving funds are used to buy building materials.  Most of the homeowners we help do not have enough funds to even pay for their materials.  We use the GlobalGiving funds to supplement what the homeowner is able to contribute and even pay for all the costs of repair when necessary.   

  

Finishing the roof
Finishing the roof
Celebrating the "Last Nail at a house blessing
Celebrating the "Last Nail at a house blessing
volunteers at work
volunteers at work
Nov 1, 2019

Lutheran Disaster Response - St Croix Rebuilding

Nearly finished
Nearly finished

 

Global Giving Report for Lutheran Disaster Response, St Croix, US Vigin Islands

Reporting Period:  July 2019 - September 2019

Volunteer rebuilding work continued through the summer of 2019.  With no other program on St Croix proving free construction labor during this time we received constant new requests for assistance.  Our queue of houses to repair swelled to over 100.  We continue to concentrate on senior citizens and persons with disabilities who have no other opton than to remain living in their storm damaged homes. 

Those whose dwellings posed a safety or health risk due to mold are our highest priority homeowners. One of our clients, an elderly lady, slept under a pop up tent in her bedroom so she wouldnt get wet every time it rained.  Another senior citizen had been without elecricity or running water for almost two years.   A third house had large openings where windows and doors used to be.  

During the months of July to September 2019, we worked on 15 houses.  We completed 12 of those projects with 3 stll under construction at the end of September.  With one exception each house required roofing repairs.  Work ranged from a complete roof replacement to five substantial roof replacements to six roof repairs to two houses we re-tarped with a promise to return and complete permanent repairs.  The non-roofing home required electrical work and door and window repair. 

During these three months, we hosted 6 groups of volunteers from United Methodist Volunteers in Mission (UMVIM).  In total, one hundred and seven volunteers participated in the UMVIM groups.  These volunteers work for a minimum of two weeks with some staying for a month or returning for the 2nd and 3rd time to build.   The teams include people with construction skills who can tackle difficult rebuilding projects.  Combined they gave us 8,053 hours of service. 

During July We also hosted a Beam/Suntory/Cruzan Rum group of 34 volunteers who spent a half day painting one of our volunteer housing sites.  

Our work with volunteer builders continues.  We have recruited volunteers and teams for the remainder of 2019 and we are filling 2020 team slots as well.

Use of Funds:  GlobalGiving funds are used to buy building materials.  Most of the homeowners we help do not have enough funds to even pay for their materials.  We use the GlobalGiving funds to supplement what the homeowner is able to contribute and even pay for all the costs of repair when necessary.   During this period, we used 79% ($78,762 of $100,000) of our Global Giving grant.  

End of the day
End of the day
New Rafters
New Rafters
Cutting roofing panels to fit
Cutting roofing panels to fit
Last Nail ceremony
Last Nail ceremony
Teamwork
Teamwork
Jul 2, 2019

Lutheran Disaster Response Report

Group Photo
Group Photo

GlobalGiving Report for Lutheran Disaster Response

Reporting Period:   April 2019 – June 2019

Rebuilding work continues nonstop.  We continue to feel that we are the safety net’s safety net.  The need for assistance is still great for senior citizens, persons with disabilities and others we worry will fall between the cracks of assistance, if it werew not for the volunteer construction crews. 

During the months of April to June 2019, we were able to finish 7 roofing projects.  One was a complete roof replacement, two partial roof replacements, and the others involved major roof repairs.  We also built five wheelchair ramps, three which had to be about 50’ long.  During a two-week period in May, during which we had only a small work crew, we tackled a handful of smaller house projects including roof patching, plumbing and electrical work.  As June ends, we are halfway through another complete roof replacement. 

It has become our tradition to conduct a “Last Nail” house blessing service as we finish a major project.  We held seven Last nail services during the reporting period.

During these three months, we hosted 6 groups of volunteers from United Methodist Volunteers in Mission (UMVIM).  In total seventy-four volunteers participated in the UMVIM groups including twenty-four who were return volunteers from earlier groups.  These volunteers work for a minimum of two weeks with several staying for a month.   The teams include people with construction skills who can tackle difficult rebuilding projects.  Combined they gave us 6,202 hours of service. 

During June we also hosted two youth groups who prepped walls and painted one of our volunteer housing sites.  First, we had a 14-member girl scout group volunteer for a day and then a large Catholic youth group that sent between 40 and 80 volunteers every day for 4 days.  The youth and their adult leaders gave us 1, 390 hours of volunteerism.

Our work with volunteers will continue.  Presently we are recruiting teams for the remainder of 2019 and starting to plan for 2020.  We have seventy-eight homeowners in our queue who have asked us for assistance; so, lots of critical work remains to be done.

Use of Funds:  GlobalGiving funds are used to buy building materials.  Most of the homeowners we help do not have enough funds to even pay for their materials.  We use the GlobalGiving funds to supplement what the homeowner is able to contribute and even pay for all the costs of repair when necessary.   During this period, we did not use this GlobalGiving grant to purchase building supplies.  We drew funds from other grants including funds GlobalGiving gave the St Croix Long Term Recovery Group.  We anticipate drawing on this grant beginning in July.

Home
Home
Volunteer Work
Volunteer Work
Gift
Gift
Last Nail
Last Nail

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