During the COVID-19 pandemic, many of Vieques’ residents do not have access to a steady supply of food, particularly healthy, hot meals. Sail Relief Team has worked in cooperation with numerous nonprofits and residents of Vieques to start a volunteer-run meal program, Comida Caliente.
We prepare healthy and filling meals at our volunteer house, La Finca de Hamberto, under controlled and sterile conditions. Our volunteers live here in the house and farm, and wear masks and gloves throughout the food preparation and serving. Over 50 meals are prepared and delivered three times a week.
We mix traditional Puerto Rican cooking with other fresh and healthy options, and utilize a variety of produce, depending on what is available. Often we serve chicken stew, sancocho, or vegetable soup, with fresh green salads or rice and beans.
Fresh produce is supplied through a generous donation from Mark Martin. This further assists a local produce seller, who is one of just a few importers of fresh fruits and vegetables onto Vieques. During COVID-19, he has seen a sharp decrease in sales. Purchasing this produce saves hundreds of pounds of food from eventually rotting away in a trash dump.
Numerous local volunteers assist with delivering the meals throughout the island to the homes of those in need. Many homeless residents are also included in the meal delivery program. We meet volunteers at La Finca de Hamberto, observing social distancing and mask protocols, and these volunteers safely deliver these meals all over the island.
We also received two brand-new large Instapots thanks to Heather Thompson, Joshua Williamson, and Tricia Wolfbauer, allowing us to cook a whopping 15 pounds of rice in under an hour. This has been a huge benefit while we prepare dishes for over 50 people. Our heartfelt thanks goes out to them, and everybody that has helped make this meal program possible.
If you would like to help Sail Relief Team continue this work, in addition to donating here. We also have an Amazon Wish List for items that will help us maintain the farm, our cooking for community meals, further our small scale farming education, and Sail Relief Team’s efforts with disaster relief and solar panel energy systems.
A further thanks goes out to the governmental, volunteer, and nonprofit organizations of Vieques that have come together to make this possible:
- United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)
- La Colmena Cimarrona
- Placita Reyes
- Vieques Love
- Municipio de Vieques Org por Vieques
- Love en alianza con VAMOS
- Iglesia Episcopal
- Iglesia de Blanca Serpa (busco nombre pq se me olvida)
- Lideres como Elda de Comida Caliente
- Apoyo de Black Beard Sports
And the local volunteer leaders assisting in funding, logistics, and deliveries:
- Yordi y Gladys
- María Garay
- Ana Elba
- José Felix
- Minerva y Ruth
- Yadira Paris