A team of experienced leaders is working to bring together a group of adult and youth volunteers to head to Puerto Rico to help in the rebuilding effort following Hurricane Maria. We will be working with Lutheran Disaster Response, a program of Lutheran Social Services in Puerto Rico (find out more here--http://www.sslpr.org/). This is part of the Building Puentes initiative, a collaborative effort of the Metro DC, Delaware Maryland, and Caribbean synods of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. You can find out more here (https://demdsynod.org/category/building-puentes/) and here (http://metrodcelca.org/building-puentes-with-caribbean-synod/).
The hope is for half of the group to have solid construction experience, while half of the group should be physically capable of construction work and willing to learn from and assist others. There may also be an opportunity for follow-up home visits with people who are in the case management process or who have been already served by Lutheran Disaster Response.
Our confirmed dates are July 21st through August 3rd. You may choose one week or stay for both.
The registration deadline will be April 1st, with a deposit of $100. Second payments will be due on May 1st to allow plane tickets to be purchased (bringing the total per person to $300). Final payments will be due on July 1st.
We will be staying in the Lutheran camp in Maguayo, near Dorado. About 45 minutes west of San Juan. The camp has room for up to sixty volunteers at a time. Volunteers sleep in bunkrooms with twin-sized bunkbeds and communal showers--comfortable enough, but nothing fancy. The camp also includes a very nice pool, a chapel, office and storage areas, and a main hall for dining/meeting/organizing/relaxing. It's a good home for groups like ours.
We took around forty volunteers from the area (and a few friends from around the country), from at least twenty different faith communities, to volunteer over two weeks in September of 2018. The general pattern was to fly in on Sunday morning/afternoon, fly back on Saturday evening. Monday through Friday we worked construction doing rebuilding in the morning and the afternoon, with time in the late afternoon/evening for the beach, the pool, going dancing, heading out to dinner, and exploring a bit of the island. We took one half day to head across the island and visit El Yunque, an amazing tropical rainforest. We also spent a half day exploring in Old San Juan. You can learn more about our experience in 2018 by checking out this blog.
Our September 2018 service teams were composed entirely of adults (between ages 21 and 70) because it was during the school year. Having our 2019 service work in the summer will allow high school students (14 years and older, who have already finished 9th grade), plus college students, college staff, and teachers, able to join us in serving.
Costs, relatively speaking, should be pretty low. The cost for one week is $600 and for two weeks is $900. That includes flights, all meals except when we're eating out, housing, construction supplies, and rental vans. Probably estimate about $150 more in spending money, though some activities are optional and you might not need that much.
Flights will be direct between BWI and San Juan. People coming from other places to join us are most welcome--either by arranging transportation to fly with us from BWI, or by deducting $300 from the trip payment to us and arranging your own flights to and from Puerto Rico from a convenient airport (trying to time your arrival and departure as close to that of the group as possible).
After filling out this registration form, you will be directed to a PayPal page for payment of your $100 deposit.
If you have questions or would like more information, whatever is available at this point, you can contact Mark Parker at Lsmparker@gmail.com.
Thanks for your interest!