Caring for an Island in Crisis

The ability to respond quickly in times of crisis, pool resources and coordinate distribution and deliver help to those who truly need it the most is essential for effective disaster response. Moreover, each of these elements’ success can hinge upon the relationships between those who are trying to help and those who need it.

For years, Send Relief has been cultivating such a relationship with Puerto Rico, a region that has endured crisis upon crisis. Your gifts to Global Hunger Relief help Send Relief meet hunger needs in Puerto Rico.

“Puerto Ricans have gone through a financial crisis, Hurricane Maria, the earthquakes late last year and early this year and now this virus,” a Send Relief partner said. “They’ve had a lot to deal with the last couple of years. All kinds of people are looking for help, and Southern Baptists have come together, reaching out to people, meeting needs and sharing the gospel.”

As COVID-19 necessitated school closures throughout Puerto Rico, the Department of Education had two significant problems with which to contend. First, many children and families across the island’s 800 schools depend on the school’s food programs. Second, when the abrupt closures went into effect, the schools had significant food items that would quickly go bad and become unusable. Send Relief was able to partner with the school systems to mobilize that food’s distribution to struggling families. More than 25,000 meals were given to 35 churches through that effort.

Similarly, Send Relief has worked alongside Puerto Rico’s Voluntary Organizations Active Disaster group to distribute their unutilized food. So, by the end of March, more than 50,000 meals had been shared with the island’s residents.

“The struggle to hold on to some type of normalcy after Hurricane Maria and the earthquakes last January continues as the island of Puerto Rico joins the rest of the world in the fight against COVID-19,” said Jonathan Santiago, a Send Relief missionary and director of Send Relief Puerto Rico.

While normalcy is a goal of these ministry efforts, the heart behind them goes far beyond returning to the status quo. Send Relief not only meets physical needs; they provide spiritual sustenance through their commitment to meet needs and change lives in Christ’s name.

You can be a part of these efforts. Your resources, your time, and your prayers can and will change lives.

Published July 15, 2021