Many of you know in Early August I recently went to help with rebuilding efforts in Toa Alta, Puerto Rico (Villa Esperanza) with a Field Team from our church in partnership with Convoy of Hope, for Community Care and Disaster Relief. This village was severely ravaged by Hurricane Maria last October 2017. Of the 130 homes in the village, sadly only 7 survived the storm.
Maria uncovered a badly hidden reality on the island: Puerto Rico is a sharply unequal society. Much of its population is poor — dirt-poor by U.S. mainland standards.
Villa Esperanza is a non-incorporated town in Toa Alta, Puerto Rico and more of a squatter’s community where they have tapped into public services. 60-70% of the people are unemployed. The Jones Act is complicated, requiring goods to come to the US before being shipped to Puerto Rico and has slowed reconstruction. The island still needs lots of help! Many animals/pets including dog, cats and horses were left behind from people who fled the island.
***What struck me profoundly during the visit was the lack of sporting supplies/goods in the village for the kids and teenagers there. Villages like these are prime targets for gang members who are eager to keep idle teenagers busy with a distraction such as sports***
Not only have I observed, but have had the honor of participating in a dirt driveway game of basketball, on a broken portable rim, with a few teens. The problem was that they played BASKETBALL with a SOCCER-BALL. This soccer-ball was one of the very few balls they used to play with throughout the village. And one of the very few sporting supplies/goods I personally observed throughout my travels in the village!
Since the visit, with help from a member of our church, I was able to get a couple deflated sporting goods to the village (along with a pump) and a basketball net. It’s quite expensive to ship goods to Puerto Rico. So I’ve partnered with a COH team and Pastor Elvis Rodriguez Ortega of Iglesia Cristiana Cristo Redentor stationed in Puerto Rico to assist with this very important campaign!
Pastor Elvis. Ready to go, hammer in hand!
Please join me in this endeavor and mission of raising enough funds to flood the impoverished villages of Puerto Rico with sporting supplies for their impressionable youth!
My humblest thank you,
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