- Plans to launch a solar energy project that will help 100 homes
The evangelical humanitarian organization of the Rev’d Franklin Graham, Samaritan’s Purse, has launched a multi-year recovery plan to rebuild 390 homes and 55 churches in central and southern Puerto Rico that were severely damaged by Hurricane Maria that struck its shores in September 2017.
As the United States territory continues to slowly recover from the Category 5 storm, Samaritan’s Purse is on the ground providing support to communities that have remained in need even nine months after the hurricane completely destroyed the island’s power grid.
One of the 55 churches that Samaritan’s Purse is helping to restore is the 45-member Iglesia Cristiana Carismática Monte De Sión in Adjuntas. Because of the storm, the church’s roof was destroyed.
Over a foot of water flooded the 40-feet-by-38-feet church building, Pastor Roberto Vega Santiago told The Christian Post in an interview via a translator. Santiago was bunkered down inside the church with his family when he heard and explosion and saw that part of the roof was missing.
“They helped us with the roof. They helped us with getting windows. They helped with plumbing, wiring, cement, rebar. Samaritan’s purse has given [us] everything,” Santiago said over the phone from his tire shop. “Without Samaritan’s purse, [we] could not have done it.”
Santiago explained that it would have likely taken his church as long as three years to completely rebuild had Samaritan’s Purse not come to help.
The church initially tried to rebuild by itself and applied for loans from a few different institutions, including a government entity and a private bank, but were turned down and stuck with no way to repair the building.
“Samaritan’s Purse is what God provided to get the church rebuilt,” Santiago stated.
In addition to the construction of the homes and churches, Samaritan’s Purse also plans to launch a solar energy project that will help 100 homes in the town of Yabucoa. Although much of the island’s power has been restored, residents of Yabucoa are still affected by intermittent power outages as their town was one of the hardest hit parts of the island.
The project marks the first time that Samaritan’s Purse has done this type of solar project, which will begin this summer. The aim is to be able to provide enough electricity to power a small home and a refrigerator.
“It’s important for people in Puerto Rico to know they are not forgotten, and that God loves them,” Samaritan’s Purse President Franklin Graham, the son of the late evangelist Billy Graham, said in a statement. “We have been on the ground in Puerto Rico since the day Hurricane Maria hit, and we will continue to help them rebuild their lives.”
Since Hurricane Maria hit last year, Samaritan’s Purse has provided over 1,900 generator kits, 6,000 solar lamps, 1,400,000 water purification tablets, 1,500 bibles and 34,000 grocery boxes through its partnership with the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Additionally, over 3,100 people have been served by the charity’s mobile medical clinics.