As part of the Rebuilding, Restoring, Renewing Puerto Rico initiative, American Baptist Home Mission Societies (ABHMS) is developing projects and strategies that promote resilience and prepare individuals to face natural disasters. Projects include the development of 11 disaster-response centers as well as disaster-preparedness training.
The 11 centers have been equipped with shelves to store food, solar lamps, electric generators and first aid kits, among other items. Various training programs have included one on preparing for all types of disasters and another on safe food storage. In response to the January earthquakes, ABHMS, in partnership with the Baptist Churches of Puerto Rico, developed and implemented a system of support networks among churches for emergency situations.
The managers of the disaster-response centers participated in a workshop about solidarity economy models during COVID-19. The training was offered by ABHMS’ Latino Ministries as part of CeCaLi XXI (Training Center for Leaders of the XXIst Century).
To promote agriculture and food security, ABHMS started a pilot project in October to create a community garden. From October through December, representatives from different communities and churches will be trained by Desde mi Huerto Inc. Participants will learn to build and maintain a garden, to prepare seedbeds and compost, to control pests and create fertilizers in an ecological way and to generate profits from the garden’s produce.
ABHMS hopes that these programs will strengthen the spirit of the people of Puerto Rico. We want them to feel embraced by their American Baptist brothers and sisters in the United States, who accompany them in their recovery from the onslaught of hurricanes Irma and María several years ago and the earthquakes that have affected them since January.
Videos of the conferences and activities can be accessed in the Latino Ministries Community on ministrElife and you can follow the development of the community garden in the RRR PR Facebook group.