The immediacy for the essentials of life; food and water were in dire need. A group of concerned clergy and laity in the Archdiocese of Atlanta determined that something should be done to help.
After research and phone calls it was suggested that we contact Caritas de Puerto Rico which is a subsidiary of Catholic Charities. After several attempts to contact Caritas due to the lack of cell and telephone service in Puerto Rico a connection was made with Father Enrique Camacho. After discussing the needs it was determined by the group that the response would be performed in two phases. The first phase was to collect food, water, needed supplies and financial support. The result of this effort resulted in over 30,000 lbs of food, water and supplies collected from over 5 parishes, two schools and various private donors over three weeks time.
The immediate response was impressive and a full shipping container was the result. The supplies were shipped to Puerto Rico and received by Caritas in Puerto Rico and delivered to families in most need throughout the Island. Since that time Caritas has continued to receive food, water and supplies from various other Dioceses throughout the United States. Fr Enrique Camacho noted that we were one of the first Dioceses in the United States to reach Caritas and deliver food and water.
The second phase would require additional time and financial resources. Damage to homes, businesses, churches and schools especially in those areas where the poorest of the poor reside and have no other resources would need assistance. Phase II would include the long term support in helping rebuild the structures and lives of so many who have lost hope. This need spurred on the creation of a non-profit group that would work under the Archdiocese of Atlanta that would offer mission work retreats to help rebuild, homes, schools, churches and most of all the lives of those who are in most need. Today, Rebuilding Hope Missions is planning its first mission trip this Spring to help those in need and provide hope in Puerto Rico.