by Rev. Nancy Elsenheimer
Senior Pastor, Garden of Grace UCC
Columbia, South Carolina
In September 2017, Hurricane Maria hit the island of Puerto Rico. Overall, life in the capital of San Juan and surrounding areas is back to normal for tourists, although those who venture outside the metropolitan area will likely encounter a smattering of blue roofs, the occasional wayward light post, and debris that still hasn’t been collected. Brief power outages still hit occasionally as the government prepares to privatize an aging and poorly maintained grid that was destroyed by the hurricane, and water shortages have hit parts of Puerto Rico’s north coast since 30 percent of the island is experiencing a moderate drought that is affecting 791,000 of its 3.2 million inhabitants.
A delegation of UCC members and friends from Southeast Conference: Garden of Grace UCC and Safe Harbor UCC, along with churches from Arizona, California, and Massachusetts, will be working through the UCC Disaster Ministries to rebuild homes, repair roofs and rebuild lives with love. Traveling June 15-22, 2019 the group of 12 will be led by Revs. Nancy and Ted Elsenheimer and will stay in Humacau, PR in a house adjacent to the UCC affiliated Ryder Hospital.
“We may have to travel 30-90 minutes to reach the houses still in need of repair. Hurricane season begins usually in July and people still have not recovered.”
The group will be carrying donations of school supplies, personal toiletries, toys, and household goods. Participants are paying their own costs to go, including airfare and on-the-ground costs of food and transportation.
“There are staff in PR who will work with us on the house repairs. There is also a coordinator of volunteer groups.” Additional monies raised will go toward the families whose lives have been affected. If you would like to support this volunteer effort, please send donations by June 1, 2019 to:
Garden of Grace UCC
1020 Atlas Road
Columbia SC 29209
designated Puerto Rico
Thank you for your generosity. We will share pictures and stories after our life-changing trip.