Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico on September 20, 2017 as a Category 4 storm with 155-mph winds, just two weeks after the island experienced storm damage and flooding from Hurricane Irma. Maria caused extensive damage to infrastructure, services, agriculture and structures, and left Puerto Ricans with little or no consistent access to power, safe water, and resources. Hurricane Maria is estimated to have caused about $90 billion in damages. All seven of Church of the Brethren congregations in Puerto Rico, and their communities, were among those affected by the hurricanes.
BDM is partnering with the Puerto Rico district of the Church of the Brethren, through its Recovery Committee, on a volunteer-based home repair and construction program to benefit church members and communities with Church of the Brethren congregations. Additional details about the Puerto Rico project
Volunteer housing is on the property of Castañer Iglesia de los Hermanos (Church of the Brethren)
Carr 135, Km 4.6
Castañer, PR 00631
Brethren Disaster Ministries
c/o Castañer Iglesia de los Hermanos
PO Box 34
P.R. Castañer, 00631
Volunteer work period
It is preferred that volunteers plan to spend at least two weeks working in Puerto Rico, arriving and departing on Saturdays. Volunteers wishing to stay longer should contact the BDM office.
Meals are prepared in the church kitchen. Volunteer groups are encouraged to include an assistant cook. Volunteers will be asked to help with kitchen cleanup. Evening meals are prepared for volunteers. Breakfasts are simple continental meals prepared on a self-serve basis in the church kitchen (including items such as pancake mix, eggs, cereal, oatmeal, toast, coffee and tea.) Lunches will be packed at the housing site for consumption on the job site.
On the weekend between the work weeks, volunteers are responsible for their own meals. These can be made on a self-serve basis with basic ingredients (provided by the project) in the small kitchen at the volunteer house. There are also two small cafés with inexpensive food and a grocery store within a short walking distance of the housing site.
- Repairing and rebuilding roofs – mostly metal roofs
- Sealing concrete roofs
- Repairing damage to walls and other structures
- Repairing the insides of houses with water or mold damage
- Cement and masonry work
- Possible new home construction
Travel to Puerto Rico
If you are interested in volunteering, please contact the BDM office regarding your availability. Do NOT book flights until you have consulted with the BDM office. Unless otherwise requested, flights should arrive at the San Juan airport in Puerto Rico, mid-afternoon, preferably between 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. on Saturday. You will be picked up from the airport. Castañer is a little more than a 2 hour drive from the San Juan airport. Departure times should be late morning to early afternoon, preferably between 11:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. also on Saturday.