1,500 Comida Caliente meals served, Solar Installations for Firefighters, and the future of Sail Relief Team

This week marks 3 years since the devastation of Hurricane Maria and the founding of Sail Relief Team in its response. Below is a short video summary of Sail Relief Team’s inception and early work, using support boats to respond to the immediate needs of disaster victims, including search and rescue, first-aid, clean drinking water, and communications.

For three years we’ve continued to operate in the Caribbean, with a focus on Vieques Puerto Rico, recovering from damage and rebuilding stronger with solar-based electricity for community infrastructure, and a sustainable volunteer farm addressing food security issues.

However, this week also marks a pivotal point in our organization, as nonprofits all over the globe respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting economic recession, coupled with record breaking natural disasters and food shortages brought by climate change.

The Washington Post reports that one-third of all nonprofits may not survive the current economic downturn.

Before we continue discussing the work Sail Relief Team has done over the past month, we need to make an urgent and straightforward request of our supporters, old and new alike.

From now until September 30th, Sail Relief Team is participating in the Global Giving nonprofit accelerator. By reaching 40 unique donors, and a total of $5,000 pledged (signing up for monthly donations counts double for the drive!) we will be eligible for additional funds as well as becoming a permanent partner in the Global Giving network.

Additionally, Wednesday, September 23rd, is a Bonus Day, with all donations being MATCHED 100%. This will further allow us to reach our goal, and continue working hard towards food security on the island of Vieques, Puerto Rico. Bonus Day runs from 00:00 midnight to 11:59pm Eastern Time, right when this blog post publishes.

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Please take a moment to donate and share with friends and family. You can share this blog post through Facebook at the bottom of the page, like and share our Facebook page, as well as our YouTube channel here. We also regularly post updates on Instagram.

Thank you to everyone that continues to support our hard work, and to all our Sponsors and Partners. We are all in this together, and now more than ever, we need each other.

1,500 Meals Served through Comida Caliente Program

This week we passed 1,500 meals served to residents of Vieques in need through the volunteer-run Comida Caliente program. We prepare a variety of fresh and healthy meals, with soups, salads, beans, and rice, featuring Puerto Rican grown produce and both meat-based and vegetarian meals. More about the food security program can be found in our first post about it here.

Meals are prepared in our volunteer house and sustainable farm La Finca de Hamberto, and we want to thank all our volunteers in residence for helping prepare and plate over 50 meals, three times a week.

We must also again thank our donors, partners, governmental, and nonprofit organizations that have helped make this program a reality, and hope we can continue and expand to fill this vital community need:

  • 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
  • Kathy
  • María
  • Ana Elba
  • Ibia
  • José Felix
  • Minerva y Ruth
  • Yadira
  • Jackie
  • Ron
  • Hilcia
  • Elda
  • Claudia
  • Doddy
  • Migdalia
  • Diana
  • Grisel
  • Ardelle
  • Dalia
  • Denisse
  • Nilo
  • Marie
  • Carlos
  • Isabel

Solar Panel Installations at Humacao Fire Station

Over the past month, Sail Relief Team worked with Footprint Project, Empowered By Light, and the Humacao Fire Department to complete a solar trailer installation.

This solar trailer and pop-up system powers 11 kilowatts of energy, helping power the fire station and can be readily deployed around the community in the case of medical emergencies and disaster relief.

We are incredibly thankful to have completed this solar trailer project last week, approaching the height of hurricane season with numerous storms forming in the Atlantic.

These off-grid power systems are so vital for communities during times of emergency, including natural disasters, power shortages, and medical emergencies.

The next step is to train the firefighters and their command officers so they can utilize the trailer effectively. We are incredibly grateful for the hard work from the Humacao Bomberos, and look forward to assisting further any way we can.

A full video on our two week installation will be published shortly on our Youtube Channel here, so keep an eye out. We have video summaries of our previous solar installation in Lares, Puerto Rico and our trip to bring 500 solar kits to Île-à-Vache, Haiti.

This is the second solar trailer Sail Relief Team volunteers have assisted in assembling in Puerto Rico. Last year, we helped complete a 6 kilowatt solar trailer system in for the Vieques Emergency Management Center (OMME Manejo de emergencias). More about our work with solar systems in 2019 can be found in our previous update here.

Puerto Rico has roughly 100 fire stations serving the islands, and Sail Relief Team intends to keep working until every station has a solar trailer system like this.

We want to again thank Footprint Project and Empowered by Light for their hard work expanding access to solar powered electricity.

Please take a moment to donate (everything is matched and doubled on September 23rd, and a monthly pledge counts double again for our goal!) share this post and our YouTube videos, reach out to friends and family, help us continue this important work during these difficult times.

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