Supporting Puerto Rico
Hurricane Maria made landfall on Puerto Rico in September 20, 2017. Total losses from the hurricane are estimated at upwards of $91.61 billion (2017 USD), ranking it as the third-costliest tropical cyclone on record.
The Collegiate Church of New York made an initial donation of $10,000 to help the people of Puerto Rico with water filtration, and pledged to match each dollar Middle Church raised up to an additional $15,000. Thanks to your generosity, we met and surpassed our goal for a total of $24,820.78, bringing the overall total in matched and raised funds with The Collegiate Church to $49,866.78 as of May 9, 2018.
Since our initial efforts began in October after the storm, a number of initiatives were undertaken to help fundraise and advocate for rebuilding Puerto Rico. Some of these initiatives are still ongoing. Read below for more updates on Puerto Rico in three specific areas:
Update (October 1, 2018)
Middle Church staff and members visited Miraflores, Orocovis in Puerto Rico this July. Rev. Jacqui and Damaris Whittaker of Ft. Washington Collegiate, as well as Elder Edna Benitez, visited with Proyecto Matria, one of the partners in Puerto Rico. Elder Edna provided a number of updates:
- Four houses were renovated in Miraflores and Humacao, owned by elderly women that did not qualify for FEMA aid.
- Middle Church is working with a few other partners in the Miraflores region: The Lower East Side Girl's Club and the The Dalton School.
- The LESGC will be working to rains funds for the Middle PR Task Force, and possibilities of a youth mission trip are in discussion. The Dalton School is working to establish peer-to-peer relationships and supply the local school with computers.
- Middle Church is making connections to begin a program aimed at supporting children with disabilities, particularly the deaf/mute community.
June 1st marks the beginning of hurricane season. Join faith communities as we raise our voices to demand accountability in recovery efforts, demand action by governments to address ecological devastation and remind the nation that there is no Planet B. The Collective Action for Puerto Rico -- Middle Church, Fort Washington Church, Union Theological Seminary, and Intersections -- invite all to participate in the Faith Weekend Action Against Ecological Devastation.
Update (May 12, 2018)
Michael Weiner of the Puerto Rico team gave an update on recovery efforts on the island, and invited listeners to Join the Movement at Middle Church. Watch the full video below, and follow along with his slideshow presendation here (PDF).
Save the Date -- June 1, 2018
Decolonizing Faith: A Dialogue on Infrastructure & Climate Change
June 1 is a National Day of Action for justice in Puerto Rico. Mirroring our observance of Good Friday, faith leaders will drape a blue tarp over the cross to symbolize the way our governmental system continues to sacrifice the people of Puerto Rico in the face of crisis.
Join our discussion at Fort Washington Collegiate Church on June 1, 2018 at 7 PM. Please RSVP here.
Update (March 11, 2018)
Edna Benitez, Michael Weiner, and Jorge Fontanez, members of the Puerto Rico Task Force gave a presentation at Middle Church to congregants, giving updates on solar panel efforts and other updates from Puerto Rico.