Country: USA

Convoy of Hope continues to serve Puerto Rico one year after Hurricane Maria

Last year Hurricane Maria slammed into the island of Puerto Rico, devastating the island. With 150 mph winds and up to 20-30 inches of rain, the entire island lost power and many homes were destroyed, affecting more than 3 million people.

Convoy of Hope’s team arrived in Puerto Rico just days after Maria struck and has been continually serving those in need since. The response began with meeting the immediate needs of food, water, solar lights and hygiene items. In the last year, Convoy of Hope has served more than 7 million meals and distributed thousands of water filters across the island.

As the response evolved from meeting short-term needs to proving long-term relief, Convoy of Hope field teams began traveling to Puerto Rico to repair and rebuild homes. From preparing the foundation to the final coat of paint, several teams have rebuilt homes in Villa Esperanza, an area of Puerto Rico which translates to Village of Hope.

Convoy of Hope continues to serve those affected by storms all over the world — from Hurricane Florence in the eastern U.S. coast, to Typhoon Mangkhut in the Philippines. As Convoy responds to these recent storms, teams will remain in Puerto Rico through 2019. There is still needs to be met and work to be done, but there is a rising hope in Puerto Rico.

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Disaster Services

Four easy ways to be more prepared

Being prepared for a disaster is important, but oftentimes it can seem overwhelming. Insurance information is complicated, buying supplies for a full-fledged emergency kit can become expensive and frankly the thought of what would happen if you face a disaster can be mentally and emotionally draining. These are still important steps to take over time, but you can start small with these easy tips and become more prepared:

1. Download your local news station’s news or weather app.

If a disaster is on it’s way, you will want to know sooner rather than later. Your local news station should have an app that you can download. When you do, make sure to turn on push notifications. Doing so will mean you will get notified of important news and weather events like a disaster headed to your area.

2. Determine the safest part of your house (or your neighbors’).

If a disaster calls for evacuation, it’s important that you do so. However, if you are not told to evacuate, you should determine the safest part of your home. During most severe storms you want to be indoors, as low and as far from windows as possible — basements, first floor bathrooms, etc. If you live in an apartment building and do not live on the ground floor, consider making friends with those below you. In the case of a severe storm you may ask if you can take shelter with them.

3. Collect the basics

You can find a list for what to include in a full-fledged emergency kit at ready.gov and we encourage you to start collecting these items. However, it’s a long list and you may not be able to afford everything all in one shopping trip. So start with the basics:

  • Battery powered flashlight
  • External battery charger for your cell phone
  • Bottled water
  • Important family documents

4. Save both personal and professional emergency numbers in your phone. 

If a disaster does happen, it’s important to know who to call for help. Make sure you have these phone numbers saved in your phone:

  • Each member of your household
  • At least one out-of-town friend or family member that may be better able to reach family members in an emergency.
  • FEMA: 800-621-FEMA (3362)
  • Emergency services — Police and Fire Department
  • Utilities
  • Medical providers
  • Veterinarians
  • Insurance companies

Always remember that if you have a life-threatening emergency, call 9-1-1. You should also mark at least one friend or family member as “ICE” in your phone’s contacts, which stands for In Case of Emergency.  This will help emergency responders know who to contact on your behalf if there is a need.

You can learn more about how Convoy of Hope prepares for and responds to disasters in the video below and at convoyofhope.org/ds.

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Inspiration

Thousands attend a day of hope and peace in Chicago

More than 9,000 people came together Saturday, August 25 in south Chicago for a day of hope and peace. With the help of 104 local organizations, 60 churches and 1,400 volunteers, more that 7,700 Guests of Honor were served at Convoy of Hope’s Chicago Community Event.

The first family arrived outside the event that morning at 6 a.m. By the time the event started at 9 a.m., more than 1,250 people were lined up for the event.

Thousands of goods and services were distributed including 6,000 back-to-school backpacks, nearly 10,000 bags of groceries and more than 3,108 pairs of new children’s shoes. More than 4,800 people also received health services — including 217 flu vaccinations from Walgreens.

Guests of Honor also had the opportunity to meet with local organizations and career services groups, to make connections that would last long after the event ended. Chicago City Alderman David Moore thanked Convoy of Hope for “not just handing out fish, but teaching people to fish”.

Stats of the event:

  • 9,128 Total people on site
  • 7,728 Guests of Honor
  • 1,400 Volunteers
  • 60 Participating Churches
  • 104 Participating Organizations
  • 6,000 back-to-school backpacks distributed
  • 168 Haircuts by 16 stylists
  • 850 Family Portraits
  • 9,947 Grocery bags distributed
  • 12,000 meals prepared
  • 3,108 Children’s shoes distributed
  • 5,000 Bombas socks
  • 1,526 served by National Breast Cancer Foundation
  • 4,800 served in Health Services by 23 organizations
  • 217 Flu vaccinations by Walgreens
  • 276 served in Job and Career Services by 11 organizations plus 217 job applications plus 5 resumes
  • 547 served in Community Services by 28 organizations
  • 62 Veterans served by 17 organizations
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Community Outreach