A Seat at the Table for Puerto Rico

Our names are Sarah Lamb and Chad Repaal, along with our sons Jacob and Henry.  This project aims to raise $2,600 to send a pallet of 35 pre-designed and pre-cut flat pack table and stool sets to Puerto Rico, to provide the people who are still only in the beginning of their recovery, rebuilding and healing process in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.  The money raised covers the cost of the plywood, packing materials, and shipping costs.  The furniture was designed by Chad and the labor to make it will be volunteered by himself and others, and fabricated at NextFab Wilmington , a creative maker space located in downtown WIlmington, DE. 

The first pallet will be shipped to our friend Sadie Winsolw in San Juan who will distribute the sets amongst her community.  The furniture is designed to be easily punched out of the plywood and assembled using no tools or hardware, so totally DIY.  And being able to cut the furniture into sheets of plywood and ship them as sheets, allows us to maximize how many furniture sets we can ship per pallet.

We hope that the first pallet process runs quick and easy and would love to keep fundraising and sending to others around the island for as long as we can sustain it and the need is there.

Being a native New Orleanian and having lived through the upset of Hurrican Katrina and relying on so much help from so many of our fellow human beings across the country, I feel the strong need to help when i can and in tangible ways when possible. I really hope this project can help families check at least one thing off their unbearingly long list of recovery needs, and most of all, let them know that we have not forgotten them!

Thank you for your consideration and support! 
But first, a note from our friend Sadie in Puerto Rico:

(Sadie in clean-up mode)

Hi, my name is Sadie Winslow. I am Sarah’s friend; we met when we studied architecture together at Tulane University in New Orleans. For the last fourteen years or so I have been living in San Juan, PR. I am married to a Puerto Rican and we are raising our family here.

(our friends in Yabucoa, PR)

It is hard to overstate the damage that these two hurricanes have caused here on the island. There is not one single square inch that was spared. You can drive as far as possible in any given direction and you will not escape it. The hurricanes affected everything and everyone. The damage from the winds and rains were mind blowing. Puerto Rico is a tropical island and as such always very verdant and green. After the storm it looked as if a massive bomb had gone off. All the trees were either down or leafless- the island looked brown and dead. The structural damages from the winds and to the electrical grid were obvious as was the widespread flooding. The only channel of communication was the radio; electricity, phone and internet were down. Puerto Rico is very mountainous in the interior and many places were physically cut off from everywhere else due to landslides or bridges being washed out. Listening to the radio was the only way to know what was happening. Listening I learned that most rivers topped twice the previous high-water records. My husband did not expect our neighborhood to flood; a pump system had been installed in the 1980s after hurricane Hugo caused flooding in the area. The pumps failed. Our neighborhood was under water for 11 days and re-flooded twice afterwards.

Puerto Ricans Still Lack Power Months After Hurricane Maria

After Hurricane, Signs of a Mental Health Crisis Haunt Puerto Rico

The most positive aspect however has been the power of the people to pull together and move things forward. The aide that I’ve seen make a real difference has been ground level and peer to peer. I do believe that we are fortunate to be able to use social media and other outlets to communicate and organize as never before. I feel privileged to be able to function as a link in the chain that will take this furniture (so perfect for the situation due to its ease of transportation and assembly) from your funding to communities in need here.

If this fundraiser succeeds I will begin be working with friends and acquaintances to distribute in dispersed locations such as Vieques, la Perla, and Naranjito to start.

(more home and furniture loss)

FEMA Contract Called for 30 Million Meals for Puerto Ricans. 50,000 Were Delivered.

After Months Without Power, A Puerto Rico Town Strings Its Own Lines

In Puerto Rico, Artists Rebuild and Reach Out

A table and chair will not save anyone’s life but they are necessary to living with dignity and they represent community and humanity. The ability to sit down together, to share a meal together, to have a surface to do schoolwork on. I believe this furniture is perfectly suited to the needs here and now and I hope you can find it in your heart to help out. We, each other, are all that we really have at the end of the day.
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Sarah Lamb 
Wilmington, DE