The following article is from the Send Relief campaign of the North American Mission Board.
In the aftermath of hurricanes Irma and Maria, the people of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands are in need of partners to help their communities recover while sharing the hope of Christ.
In order to maximize Southern Baptists’ impact, we must come together and contribute to the response effort. Send Relief, the Florida Baptist Convention, WMU and the Convention of Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands are collaborating with other valuable partners to equip the island churches. While search and rescue are still underway on the islands, here are some ways you can help:
Pray for the people who have been affected and the pastors, churches and governments while they make decisions and assist people during the storm’s aftermath.
Donate. The most impactful way to help the recovery of the affected islands is by donating through SendRelief.net/Caribbean. Monetary donations will give us the ability to quickly meet the most essential physical needs of survivors. 100% of the donations will go toward that effort.
Volunteers. In the near future, volunteer teams will be needed to aid in the recovery on the ground. We expect to have exact timeframes for volunteers in the next one to two weeks; however, you can register your interest at SendRelief.net/Caribbean. At this time, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands discourage volunteer self-deployment as unexpected arrivals in affected communities creates an additional burden for first responders. Volunteers might serve in cooking teams, wellness teams, evangelism teams and chainsaw teams. Timing, travel and accommodations information for volunteers will be forthcoming.
Church partnerships will be needed to push toward recovery of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Ideally, for every Baptist Caribbean church there would be at least five Southern Baptist partner churches. Partner churches will assist in the provision of food, miscellaneous household items and/or non-perishable food items that will meet the great need of disaster survivors. Churches are asked to make a commitment for months to meet the unique needs of each church. Specific details regarding the needs of the churches will come as soon as we are able to assess their situations on the ground.
Your patience is one of the greatest assets you can provide right now. The islands are still dealing with the destruction of infrastructure, especially the electrical grid and water systems. Recovery activities associated with the islands will require volunteer engagement for many months, perhaps years, to come and the help of many will be required.
Thank you for prayerfully considering your role as we minister to our church family and the communities of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.