Tag: Disaster Recovery

Convoy of Hope Provides Relief in Puerto Rico

Throughout the past year, Puerto Rico has seen more than its fair share of hardship. COVID-19, earthquakes, drought, and tropical storms have relentlessly torn exhausted communities across the country.

Thanks to supporters like you, Convoy of Hope has distributed food, water, and other necessities to people affected by these disasters. We have hosted multiple distributions that made a big difference for those in need.

Benny was one of the many people who received groceries from a distribution that took place in his community. When a local partner asked how he was feeling, Benny simply replied, “Blessed.” Benny explained that he and his family have braved earthquakes and the pandemic together, but have continued to endure. “Thanks to God, we’re standing … God always provides,” he concluded. “We thank the organization of Convoy of Hope.”

“We’re grateful for everything that you’ve done,” another survivor, Sol Caraballo, expressed while exiting a point of distribution site. “How you have blessed us in a special way through Convoy of Hope. Thank you.”

Residents of Puerto Rico have withstood an extraordinary amount of adversity in recent months. But with your help, we are able to deliver hope to those who have struggled to find it. Thank you for helping us to deliver hope in every storm.

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Disaster Services / Field Story

Storm After Storm, Hope Remains

“The wind was terrible,” Christian said with a somber look on his face. “As the storm grew stronger and stronger … me and my wife were both holding the French doors shut.”

No sooner had survivors like Christian begun assessing the damage Hurricane Laura caused than Convoy of Hope sprang into action. Hurricane Laura was one of 26 disasters in the U.S. that Convoy of Hope responded to in 2020. Additionally, we responded to 36 disasters overseas, serving more than 1 million people internationally and more than 4.5 million people domestically.

Christian and his wife were trapped in their home when Hurricane Laura struck. Back in 2005, Christian and his family found themselves in a similar situation. Hurricane Rita decimated the Lake Charles area of Louisiana, leaving many without food, water, shelter, or other necessities. It was then that Christian had his first experience with Convoy of Hope.

“Convoy of Hope helped us tremendously. They were our lifeline for three weeks,” he said.

After Hurricane Laura dissipated, more than 450 volunteers distributed close to 1.6 million pounds of resources to people in need. In order to give back after his experience in 2005, Christian decided to become a volunteer with Convoy of Hope.

“As we give food, as we give water, people receive the help, I think it gives a little hope,” Christian said.

Because of volunteers like Christian and supporters around the world, Convoy of Hope served nearly 60,000 individuals across 16 cities in Louisiana. Thank you for helping us provide hope in every storm.

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Disaster Services / Field Story

Always Preparing for Disasters

Even as the world has seemed to turn upside down from COVID-19, we must remember that other kinds of natural disasters could happen at any time. We are several weeks into the Atlantic hurricane season — which the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicts will be busier than usual — drought is affecting the island of Puerto Rico, massive flooding and tropical storms have already hit several parts of the world. Even during a pandemic, we have to be ready. 

As you and your family prepare for the unexpected, know that our teams at Convoy of Hope are constantly readying themselves for the next deployment. Convoy of Hope teams regularly train to use chainsaws, heavy equipment, electric pallet jacks, and CPR/first aid. Staying knowledgeable and certified on these skills is vital to our work. 

You and your family can prepare as well, though without the heavy equipment. Make sure you are up to date on what you need to in case disaster strikes by visiting ready.gov. There you can also find tips on building emergency kits and creating plans for you and your family. Get the kids involved too, and make sure that should worse come to worst, you and your family know what to do and where to go. 

If you are interested in helping those whose lives have been turned upside down by a disaster, you can donate at convoyofhope.org or check out our kit building instructions to pitch in and help those in need. As always, you can stay up to date on all of our disaster responses by visiting convoyofhope.org/blog.

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Program Updates
Convoy of Hope's Community Event's Director, Steve Pulis is trained by our Disaster Services team to operate an electric pallet jack. Cross-training our staff allows us to deploy more qualified personnel when they are needed. Convoy of Hope's Community Event's Director, Steve Pulis is trained by our Disaster Services team to operate an electric pallet jack. Cross-training our staff allows us to deploy more qualified personnel when they are needed.

Cross-training leads to Greater Capacity

In today’s ever-changing world, Convoy of Hope is focusing on finding new and innovative ways to provide help. The models for our Community Events, disaster responses, and international work are nimble and have found new ways to continue and even expand our capacity during this strenuous time. 

Convoy of Hope’s Disaster Services team held a two-day training where attendees learned the ins and outs of responding to disasters. The training covered why Disaster Services does what it does, their processes and methods of distribution, debris clean-up process, and electric pallet jack certification.

Many of those in attendance were members of Convoy of Hope’s Community Events staff. In order to better serve in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Community Events decided to change to a point of distribution (POD) model like the one Disaster Services uses. This allows them to serve more people,in a way that is safe for our guests and volunteers. 

“We really want to be cross-trained so we can do more when it comes to the work we do here in the United States,” says Community Events Senior Director Steve Pulis. “When we restructured to focus on PODs, the Disaster Services teams — the ones that have perfected that model inside and out — had best practices we could follow. The more our U.S. program can cross lines, collaborate, cross train, and pick up strategies from each other, the better we can come alongside churches and partners.”

Across the U.S., the COVID-19 pandemic has forced us all to change the way we do things. In the face of difficulty, let’s choose to keep helping others, change our tactics if we need to, and ask each other for help along the way. 

Visit convoyofhope.org/events for more information on ways you can partner with Convoy of Hope in 2020.

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Program Updates