Today while my heart is full of love, faith and hope, it is also saddened by the challenges of the last fewmonths in Puerto Rico as the situation on our island continues to get more and more dire. The last few months have been full of challenges!
We appreciate every word of encouragement, text, emails you send us, your prayers and good thoughts for us and Puerto Rico. These are just some of the things that help us in the face of so many situations that we encounter on a daily basis. You are such an important part of For Such a Time as This.
In the past 6 years Puerto Rico has suffered 3 hurricanes, 2 earthquakes and hundreds of earth tremors and recently a tornado. A tornado is not normal for PR, being a tropical island in the middle of the Caribbean. While no lives were lost. The tornado touched the mountain area of a town called Aguada, affecting twenty homes and business before it ran out to sea as a waterspout.
With so many natural disasters in a short period of time, a pandemic that crippled the economy and the redevelopment that is happening complicated the already delicate and weakened economic situation. People are very stressed with more cases of depression, bringing a wave of mental health disorders,increase in suicide and a rising delinquency rate.
We have also had a very difficult time, our commitment has been to help our people by giving them love, faith and hope, but that does not mean that we are not affected by the circumstances in PR. Currently we lose electricity services daily for several hours, as well as water and internet. To this we can add a heat wave for the past 3 months with temperatures reaching and sometimes exceeding 110/115 degrees. Even in the midst of all this we are seeing how God is helping us to continue to move forward.
Grocery Distribution: In the past months we have delivered more than 150 groceries bags and more than 600 people have benefited from the distribution of hot meals in the streets.
Our Back-to-School: Campaign this year reached Vieques, an island and municipality of Puerto Rico, in the northeastern Caribbean, lies about 8 miles east of the Puerto Rican mainland, and measures about 20miles long by 4.5 miles wide. Vieques is part of Puerto Rico but often forgotten. Since Hurricane Maria,for example, there is not a hospital and the only way to get to San Juan is by ferry or a small planewhich does not work 24 hours a day. We were able to serve the families of Vieques, thanks to you!
In a collaborative effort with “Arropando la Esperanza con Abuela Fefa”, we delivered 200 backpacks with school supplies In addition, 50 backpacks were given to low-income children in different cities in the Western part of the main island, Puerto Rico.
Health Program: Thanks to a collaboration with Vitamin Angels and Walgreens we have been able to provide pregnant women with free prenatal vitamins.
Emergency Supplies: Thanks to Puerto Rico Rises, a sister organization, we were able to help in the distribution of emergency supplies, hygiene kits and solar lamps.
This is just a short recap of all that you have helped us to achieve thanks to your continued support! Words will never be enough to thank you for making a difference in so many lives!
With much love,