SBRG Success Stories
FHLBNY Provides Support to Fundación Comunitaria de Puerto Rico to Help Vulnerable Communities in Response to Hurricane Fiona
One of the goals at the FHLBNY is to improve the housing and economic opportunities available to families and communities. Most recently, we provided a charitable contribution to the Fundación Comunitaria de Puerto Rico in response to Hurricane Fiona which supported several initiatives including the organization, Plenitud Iniciativas Eco-Educativas (Plenitud).
Plenitud is one of the 37 non-profit organizations supported by the Puerto Rico Community Recovery Fund, and recently re-activated by Fundación Comunitaria de Puerto Rico in response to Hurricane Fiona, which according to media, left over $10,000MM in damages and over $150MM in agricultural loss. With a death toll of 31 persons, most over 60 years old, this Category 1 hurricane just proved the fragility of the island’s infrastructure and the pending recovery from Hurricane María that happened five years ago.
Plenitud is anchored in one of the most vulnerable municipalities on the archipelago, Las Marías, a mostly rural community located in the central-western mountainous region. As Fundación Comunitaria de Puerto Rico wanted to put the “ear” on land, this was one of the first organizations they called to assess the needs and opportunities that lied ahead. It was precisely Plenitud who brought the idea to allow organizations serving as first responders to use part of the amount to be granted to buy agricultural produce from their local farmers and stimulate a local economy: save part of the crops, feed the people in the communities, inject some income to the sorrowing farmers.
And this is exactly what Plenitud did – they connected the community kitchen’s demand to the available supply of local farmers, and support another community kitchen called Come Colegial. Both organizations were able to serve between 125 and 150 meals per day, during the past month, and deliver grocery bags to the elderly population and families.
As energy and water were limited, they also provided water harvesting system, something they are very well known for, since Hurricane María.
“It has been a period of great learning because I believe that when we give, we receive. Each time we visit a house of an elderly to provide for their needs, they always look for something to give back. That generosity always touches my heart”, said Paula Paoli Garrido, co-director at Plenitud. “This and past events demonstrate how the non-profit organizations activate themselves to support the most pressing needs of the communities they served, instead of waiting for someone to come and save them.”
Plenitud has served over 2,073 hot food dishes to elderly people and families, invested $2,088 in purchases from farmers, installed 15 water tanks, and distributed 115 grocery bags to the community. “Hurricane Fiona left devastating effects on the community and farmers of Las Marías. With this devastating reality, we set ourselves to work with the most vulnerable in our communities, including the elderly,” said Paoli Garrido.