Raising Up an Island: San Salvador


Raising Up an Island recently  distributed 500 boxes of food to families throughout 10 towns on the island of Puerto Rico.  This was due, in large part, to the generosity of our friends and family.   While there I visited the town of San Salvador.  This rural town sits in the hills of Puerto Rico and suffered extreme damages due to winds and rain.   As I drove through the town to visit with one family in particular, I was saddened by the amount of property damage throughout the town.   This is a town of 750 families, most of which consist of senior citizens and many families below the property line.  

I visited with one family imparticular, the Martinez/Delvalle family is a very humble family; poor yet proud.  Two weeks before we left for Puerto Rico, my family and I watched the news on WAPA TV (a Puerto Rico based TV station).  This family spoke of their experience and their current situation.  Their sons, straight “A” Honor students, Nathaniel (12) and Jariel (14) would speak of their grades suffering because of the delays in getting home via their mountain pathway due to mudslides. This family, like those in the town, felt Hurricane Maria's fury head on.  The modest childhood home of Aydee DelValle Baez was viciously attacked by the storm’s winds and rains.  As she and her husband, Santo Montanez Martinez, struggled throughout the evening to hold the door of their home closed, the devastation to vegetation around them would seem impossible to deal with when they faced it in the morning.  The hillside had collapsed and access to their home was now covered by mud, rocks and tangled bamboo trees.  It would take her husband Santo and their family 4 ½ days to clear the bamboo only to find their roadway was damage worse than expected. The following weeks’ rains would worsen the situation.  A once 20-minute walk down the very steep and curvy road to the main street now would take 45-60 minutes.  

This story, albeit difficult to read and even more difficult to see, is similar throughout the town.  

We need your help.  Our goal is $8,000 to create and distribute 300+ boxes of groceries to the families of San Salvador.  Raising Up an Island leaves on May 10th and intends to purchase groceries, pack boxes and distribute them on Saturday, May 19th.  We are joining forces again with Ayudando Los Nuestros (Helping Our Own), another grass-roots team with the same goal...to help the citizens of Puerto Rico in need get back on their feet and provide hope for a better tomorrow.  

No donation is too small, please assist us with your donation to achieve this goal and to give the residents of San Salvador 

Thank you for your time and donation.


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Madeline Figueroa 
Chicago, IL
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