At some point along life’s journey, each of us finds ourselves in a situation where we need the assistance of others. Whether it be mental, emotional, physical, financial or otherwise, the need for assistance, and our often reluctance to admit, seek or accept that help, is a common thread that we all share. In many instances our need for help stems from circumstances that we cannot control such as a job loss, illness, the death of a loved one or a natural disaster. Whatever the reason, however long the duration, individuals and organizations that are willing and able to give of themselves greatly ease the burden.
In the wake of the disaster caused last fall by Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, Sara Lopez and a group of volunteers came together to form Puerto Rico Rises. The purpose of this not-for-profit organization is to assist families and individuals in Puerto Rico that were negatively impacted by the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria with basic necessities while they reconstruct their lives and their homes. Puerto Rico Rises is exclusively run by volunteers and welcomes the assistance of others, both locally and those traveling and looking to partake in some voluntourism, as they work tirelessly in the pursuit of their mission to ensure that everyone gets back on their feet.
The Puerto Rico Rises organization is located in a warehouse in Aguadilla, where donations are housed and distributed. Those seeking assistance can find basic, nonperishable food items, water, clothing and other supplies and are able to procure them directly, simply by calling the distribution center and making arrangements to stop during their hours of operation. The center is open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., though it is best to call first to ensure staff is on site. When one stops at the distribution center, they are welcomed with a smile that lets them know there are people who care, friendly conversation while needs are being filled and, perhaps most importantly, a brief but invaluable momentary escape from the struggles of recovering and rebuilding.
As with any not-for-profit organization, the success of this group depends not only on their volunteers who run the day-to-day operations, but also the generosity of those who support the organization through the donation of their time, gently used clothing, furniture and household items, nonperishable food and water or monetary donations. With ongoing support of organizations such as Puerto Rico Rises, we can help ensure that everyone who has suffered as a result of this environmental tragedy has the opportunity and resources to rebuild their lives. For more information or to support Puerto Rico Rises, click here to visit their website.