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SBP AmeriCorps Members Deploy to San Juan, Puerto Rico

Deployment 3: SBP AmeriCorps Members Provide Recovery and Rebuilding Support as Hurricane Maria relief Efforts Continue

On February 23, one SBP staff member and 5 AmeriCorps members deployed to Puerto Rico. This is SBP's third deployment to Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria.


  • February 24th - SBP had a comprehensive team meeting in the morning. In the afternoon, SBP trained at the joint field office (JFO), a base for numerous organizations doing recovery work in the area, and picked up materials.
  • February 26th - SBP moved from San Juan to Humacao and met with command staff planning officer, Bridget, for a debrief on Project VALOR (Voluntary Agencies in Leading and Organizing Recovery).

  • February 27th - SBP removed debris from the backyard of Ms. Santiago, moving trash and refuse before breaking apart tree branches. SBP’s second deployment team assessed Ms. Santiago’s home in February.

  • February 28th - The Washington Conservation Corps (WCC) trained SBP on proper roof repair techniques.

  • March 1st - SBP completed roof repair training.

  • March 2nd - SBP pressure washed and sealed cracks in the roof of a home.

  • March 3rd - SBP applied roof sealer to the entire roof of the home we worked on yesterday.

  • March 5th - In the morning, SBP completed roof work at the home of Ms. Emilia and assessed the home of Ms. Noelia. In the afternoon, SBP began work on Mr. Ramon’s house which is in need of lead paint scraping and roof repair.

  • March 6th - SBP returned to Mr. Ramon’s house to continue scraping lead paint and roof repair.

  • March 7th - SBP continued work on Mr.Ramon’s house. We finished removing all of the lead paint and completed the first coat of microseal and 8500 on the roof. SBP anticipates finishing work on Mr.Ramon’s house tomorrow! Additionally, we spoke to several of Mr. Ramon’s neighbors who expressed interest in our services; we plan to assess their homes tomorrow.

  • March 8th - SBP finished work on Mr. Ramon’s house today! In the afternoon the team split into two groups; one group began repair work on the roof of Mr. Alfonso, and the other group completed 5 home assessments.

  • March 9th -  The St. Louis AmeriCorps crew that had been working on Mr. Alfonso’s home passed the project on to SBP; we completed work on Mr. Alfonso’s house. The team then assessed another house that we will work on tomorrow. Later in the day SBP picked up our new Toyota truck! SBP is grateful to Toyota for helping us better serve the community in Puerto Rico.

  • March 10th - SBP began angle grinding at the home of Mrs. Ruminda. Her house had more cracks in the roof than anyone on the team had ever seen; SBP spent a long day in the sun working to repair them.

  • March 12th - SBP continued work on Mrs. Ruminda’s home. The team finished angle grinding and sealing all visible cracks; we will return tomorrow to apply microseal. Additionally, SBP assessed the home of Mrs. Laura. She has cancer and has not been able to complete any of the necessary repairs to her home due to health problems.

  • March 13th - SBP returned to Mrs. Ruminda’s home to apply microseal and the first coat of 8500. The team returned to the forward operating base (FOB) in the afternoon to clean and organize in preparation for our move to San Juan tomorrow.

  • March 14th- SBP finished work at Mrs. Ruminda’s home. The team broke down the forward operating base (FOB) and moved to San Juan to continue working there.

  • March 15th - SBP began roof work at the home of Mr.Jesus. Hurricane Maria did a lot of damage and we have our work cut out for us!

  • March 16th - We continued work on Mr. Jesus’ roof. We had to do some trouble shooting with our pressure washer but were able to move forward! Mr. Jesus is very kind and always willing to help us. His roof is one of the most damaged our team has seen, but we are all determined to complete the work and help the family.

  • March 17th - The team had the day off. We got a chance to rest up and prepare to give it our all for this deployment’s last week of service in Puerto Rico. Amy, SBP’s Deployment Trainer, met with community leaders on the west side of the island in Maricao and Cabo Rojo to assess their needs, learn what local organizations are already doing there, and learn how it might be possible to get teams to those areas to start recovery efforts there.

  • March 19th - The SBP team returned to Mr. Jesus’s house to continue work. We continued angle grinding and sealing cracks. We’re in a time crunch now; the team really wants to finish this roof!

We will continue to post updates as they become available! 

Deployment 2: SBP AmeriCorps Members Provide Recovery and Rebuilding Support as Hurricane Maria relief Efforts Continue

On January 15th, one SBP staff member and four AmeriCorps members serving with SBP deployed to Puerto Rico where they will spend one month partnering with Washington Conservation Corps and local community leaders to conduct home assessments, muck and gut homes, and provide Safety and Disaster Response trainings for communities in need across the island following Hurricane Maria. 

The team will distribute SBP's post-disaster homeowner resource documents, particularly SBP's "Mold Remediation" guide and "Navigating FEMA" guide - both have been translated into Spanish.

The deployment marks SBP's second deployment to Puerto Rico since Hurricane Maria.

The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) which administers AmeriCorps, has deployed more than 100 members to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands since Hurricane Maria made landfall. SBP is proud to play a role in the vital relief and humanitarian efforts currently underway on Puerto Rico. 


January 17th - SBP partnered with Washington Conservation Corps to complete 9 home assessments that will be passed on to working teams. Amy, SBP Deployment Trainer, was appointed as the Safety Officer of this AmeriCorps Disaster Response Team. She will lead trainings and complete safety checks throughout this deployment.

January 18th - Half of the SBP team had the pleasure of meeting with community leaders including the president of a 200-strong network of churches to canvass for work orders with a Washington Conservation Corps team. This will lead to request forms from over 1,000 people living in Puerto Rico

On the same day, the other half of the SBP team paired with Washington Conservation Corps, completing 5 work assessments and preparing training materials for 27 California Conservation Corps members.

January 19th -  Continuing with the previous day's success, SBP worked alongside a Washington Conservation Corps team to completed 3 home assessments and held a successful training with 27 California Conservation Corps members on Puerto Rico, Deployment Safety, and Mold remediation.

January 20th - SBP completed 4 home assessments and 4 home visits. 

January 22nd - SBP completed 6 home assessments, 3 of which were homes that the team had no previous knowledge of the work that needs to be done.

January 24th - During the morning, SBP trained 27 California Conservation Corps members in muck and gut procedures. Later that day SBP moved to the new Humacao Forward Operating Base (FOB). Amy was designated the FOB lead. The team will be working out of a house at the FOB, fixing roofs, mucking houses, and suppressing mold.

January 26th - SBP began mucking and gutting a two-story house in Humacao. In the morning FEMA external affairs photographed the process and interviewed Amy.

January 27th - SBP tackled the first floor of the two-story home, peeling ceiling paint that needs to be scraped and anchoring wood shelves into concrete. The house should be completely gutted by midday tomorrow.

January 29th- In the morning, SBP finished mucking and gutting the first house, and after lunch assessed 4 houses in the Humacao municipality.

January 30th - SBP completed 2 home assessments in a neighborhood that hadn’t been canvassed by an AmeriCorps Disaster Response Team yet. In the evening SBP’s team had a constructive and inspiring Skype call with Zack, SBP’s co-founder and CEO.

January 31st - SBP spent the morning window assessing homes in Humacao, and after lunch SBP helped the Washington Conservation Corps and St. Louis AmeriCorps teams seal one roof and start the sealing process on a 2nd roof.

February 1st - SBP continued work on two roofs that will be finished tomorrow! As the team works, neighbors ask SBP to assess their houses - SBP will have plenty of work for the next ten days!

February 2nd - SBP prepped a new roof for sealing (power washing, scraping off old sealant, patching cracks and holes) and began demolition on another roof.

February 5th - SBP painted the roofs of 2 houses that SBP started last week with their first coat of sealant.

February 6th - SBP continued work on the 2 houses, finishing the second coat of sealant on both roofs. One house is now closed; the other needs additional work on the interior.

February 7th - In the home that needed additional interior work, SBP removed the wood paneled ceiling and mold suppressed the remaining beams.

February 8th - SBP began demolition on the wooden parts of another home. After losing her roof to Hurricane Maria, the homeowner wants to rebuild with concrete but can’t afford both demolition and rebuilding. SBP will complete the demolition work so that the homeowner can afford to rebuild.

February 9th - SBP finished demolition in the home we worked on yesterday. SBP then mucked and gutted an additional house. Lastly, SBP worked with the St. Louis AmeriCorps team to remove a hazardous tree.

February 10th - SBP gutted and did debris removal for a homeowner who lost everything on the second level of his house during Hurricane Maria.

February 12th - SBP's team returned to the continental United States. 

In the words of Deployment Trainer, Amy, "It feels like we made a very small dent in all the work that still needs to be done, but we are all grateful to have been a part of this deployment, and I hope that we don't forget about the people of Puerto Rico and how great the need is there, even 5 months after the storm." 

Deployment 1: SBP Team Providing Logistics and Warehouse Management Support as Hurricane Maria Relief Effort Continues

On October 13th, one SBP staff member and four AmeriCorps members deployed to San Juan, Puerto Rico where they will spend one month providing logistics support and warehouse management to help speed the disbursement of humanitarian relief supplies to populations in need across the island following Hurricane Maria. 

The team will also distribute SBP's post-disaster homeowner resource documents, particularly SBP's "Mold Remediation" guide and "Navigating FEMA" guide - both have been translated into Spanish.

The deployment marks SBP's first deployment outside of the continental United States.

The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) which administers AmeriCorps, has deployed more than 100 members to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands since Hurricane Maria made landfall. SBP is proud to play a role in the vital relief and humanitarian efforts currently underway on Puerto Rico. 


October 14th - SBP team of 5 served with Salvation Army at their main distribution warehouse in Caraguas. Together, both organized and packaged 10,530 pounds of food in to deliverable boxes, creating 7,560 individual meals to be delivered to populations in need.

October 15th - Early in the morning, SBP and Salvation Army packed over 5 pallets of food and loaded 3 minivans and 2 box trucks with MRE's and water. The group of trucks then split up and drove to two towns - Toa Alta, and Huamaco. In Toa Alta all supplies were distributed in less than an hour. In Humacoa, supplies were distributed to a public housing neighborhood that did not have running water, with the closest water supply  a 30 minute walk away. Many people were seniors and disabled and were unable to get to this water source, so the supplies delivered were welcomed relief. 

October 16th - Distributed: 6,768 pounds of food, 3,632 gallons of water. SBP and Salvation Army loaded 2 box trucks and 9 vehicles with pre-packed food and water to distribute in Toa Alta and Aquadilla. Two US Homeland Security Investigation teams joined us today as security details and to help distribute the supplies.

Team A went to Toa Alto and distributed food and water at a public housing complex. DHS medical personnel provided medicine and treatment including to an infant born shortly after the storm who had contracted conjunctivitis.

Team B went to Aquadilla to follow up with a lead on a housing complex that had not received food or water in 20 days. They unloaded their truck for the entire neighborhood including 22 bed-ridden people. While connecting with community leaders, they were able to identify another neighborhood of 400 that requires food and water as well.

October 17th - Distributed: 11,924 pounds of food, 2,092 gallons of water. SBP, Salvation Army, and a team from the Department of Homeland Security Investigation (HSI), completed delivery missions again today. Team A took 2 security jeeps, a van, and a box truck full of food and water to a small untouched community near the Toa Alta municipality. These families had not received any food or water since the storm. Nearly 25 food boxes were left with the employees of the local community center for homebound elderly and those who were not able to receive food directly from the truck.

Team B traveled to Humacao with 4 security vehicles, 1 van and 1 semi truck full of food and water. They distributed meals from a community center near the border of the Humacoa and Yabucoa municipalities. A few cases of water were left at the center for families who were unable to make it to the distribution site.

October 18th - Distributed 7,282 pounds of MREs, 8,497 gallons of water. Half of the SBP team went with Salvation Army and HSI to Toa Baja and distributed food, water, and bug spray door to door for those who couldn't leave their homes. They also did a mass distribution in a community that had not received assistance since the storm. The community was heavily affected by the rain from Maria and was inundated with 3-6 feet of mud from overflow from the river. 

The other half of the team loaded 2 US Army flat bed trucks with 36 pallets of water that will go to Salvation Army Corps in Guayama and Ponce for local distribution.

October 19th - Distributed 1,5547 pounds of food, 1,643 gallons of water. SBP supported Salvation Army on two fire missions as well as in the main SA warehouse. The field team was again accompanied by Homeland Security Investigation agents for logistical support. One of the SBP team members also accompanied Salvation Army leadership and served as an interpreter between SA and two philanthropic guests who were interested in establishing a water filter distribution program.

Team A went to Campanilla in the municipality of Toa Baja distributed a box truck full of food and water to citizens in need of supplies.  The team also partnered with local community leaders to make door-to-door deliveries to handicap and elderly individuals.

Team B went to Ingenio, also in the municipality of Toa Baja, to distribute food and water as well. They participated in door to door distributions as well as distributed from the truck at a central site. 

October 20th - Supplies Unloaded: 77,100 pounds of food, 14,333 gallons of water. Distributed 5,880 pounds of food, 1,210 gallons of water. The SBP PR Deployment team provided assistance with two critical missions. The first was accompanying Salvation Army on a fire mission to Utuado.  Utuado has been virtually inaccessible since Hurricane Maria due to severe damage to roads and bridges. The fire team distributed food to local community leaders and organizations who will provide the supplies directly to homeowners.  An SBP member also accompanied SA and the philanthropic guest to a run off pipe that local families had been using to collect rain water. While there they distributed 4 boxes of the water filters which can be used to purify 42,000 gallons of water.

The warehouse team assisted SA in unloading 9 tractor trailers of food and water. The teams training in forklift operator and pallet jacking were of great help in unloading dozens of pallets of supplies. In their down time between incoming trucks, they packed two pallets of food boxes for distribution in the coming weeks.

October 21st - Distributed 5,468 pounds of food, 1,163 gallons of water. Today, SBP assisted Salvation Army with a “fire mission” in the municipality of Juncos. The distribution was held in a low income community that has received little to no assistance since the hurricanes.  SBP and Salvation Army connected with a local community leader who assisted the team in organizing distribution to families by their apartment number.  This allowed for fair distribution of food and ensured that supplies were delivered to the most vulnerable members of the community.  In total, the team provided food and water to approximately 200 families.

After completing food distribution, the team accompanied a few volunteers and SA staff into the mountainous areas of Juncos.  The people in these areas have been getting water from local rivers and streams which has contributed to the spread of waterborne illness and conjunctivitis.  Filters and water were delivered to several families.  Each filter can clean over 300 gallons of water and each family was provided with three filters meaning clean water for weeks.  

October 22nd - SBP AmeriCorps members assisted our peers on this ADRT Deployment, Washington Conservation Corps, with debris clearing, damage assessments, and coordination with FEMA at the JFO.

The field team traveled with WCC to a remote region of the municipality of Toa Baja. This community was heavily impacted by both high winds and flooding with many homes being damaged by falling trees. Hurricane Maria also caused major damage to the sewage lines of many homes causing human waste to run off in large pools throughout the community especially behind people’s homes.  SBP’s Americorps members assisted homeowners with completing the lengthy paperwork required by FEMA and the Army Corps of Engineers in order to receive assistance. SBP's fluent Spanish speakers were extremely helpful and made the paperwork process significantly easier for both the WCC team and homeowners.

One SBP AmeriCorps member and one staff member assisted WCC at the Joint Field Office. Additionally, the SBP team was able to work with FEMA GIS mapping specialists to create maps of hazardous road ways for the field teams which allow for safer travel.

October 23rd - Distributed 6,825 pounds of food, 1,672 gallons of water. SBP and Salvation Army completed two fire missions today in the municipalities of Juncos and Manatí.

Team A went to Juncos and distributed food in a total of 3 neighborhoods that had not received food or water since the storm.

Team B went on a fire mission to a neighborhood in the Manatí municipality. On arrival, there were already lines forming for the supplies.  Each family received a box of food and a case of water with additional supplies being left with the church for further distribution. The community was so grateful for the assistance that they insisted on feeding all of the volunteers.

October 24th - Distributed 8,106 pounds of food, 2,051 gallons of water, 2,500 pounds of donations sorted. The SBP team began today by loading two trucks with supplies for the hard hit areas of Arecibo and Fajardo. The total amounts of supplies heading for these communities was 5,859 pounds of food and 1,327 gallons of water. The team then assisted Salvation Army on a Fire Mission in the municipality of Las Piedras.  The team delivered food and water at a local school to be distributed to the community. Upon arrival at the school, a group of students quickly joined the team and created a fire line to unload the truck.  The energy and positive nature of the students was truly inspiring.

Story of Resilience: The SBP team met Glenda today while distributing food in Las Piedras.  Glenda was the local contact for the distribution and is a pastor at a local church.  Glenda was so thankful for the assistance of Salvation Army and SBP that she insisted on taking the volunteers to the nearby bakery of her brother-in-law.  At the bakery, Glenda shared with the team her experience during both Hurricane Maria and Irma.  She was grateful that her home had survived the storms but the suffering on her community weighed heavily upon her.  Shortly after Hurricane Maria passed over her area, her family rushed to reopen their three bakeries in order to continue feeding the community.  The community was in such need that frequently the line would go far down the street. They would typically sell all of their stock by 1 pm and would close the doors and immediately begin baking again for the next day.  While the challenges in the community are daunting, her courage and perseverance was an inspiration to everyone.

October 25th - SBP AmeriCorps members served out of the Salvation Army warehouse in Caguas.  There they sorted over 2,000 pounds of various donations that can be repacked and distributed to families in need across Puerto Rico.

Mark Smith, SBP’s Deployment Lead, has transitioned into a role as the Planning Chief and Operations Co-Chief of the AmeriCorp Disaster Response Team.  This role allows for more AmeriCorps members to serve clients directly in the field and paves the way for future AmeriCorps teams to conduct operations across the island.

October 26th - Distributed 4,578 pounds of food, 1,024 gallons of water, 2,113 pounds of donations sorted. SBP AmeriCorps Members Marcia Daniels and Courtney Hass accompanied Salvation Army on a distribution to a neighborhood in Juncos. A distribution of food and water conducted just days before but the need was so great that not everyone could be served at that time. Today, the team unloaded 4 pallets of water and 6 pallets of food for the community. Local police officers and community members assisted in organizing and conducting the distribution which ensured a that the operation went smoothly.

Another SBP AmeriCorps member, Margot Habets, has begun working with Salvation Army Liaisons at the Joint Field Office assisting with distribution logistics and planning. Her strong skillset as a planner and technical experience will be a huge asset to Salvation Army’s operations.

Brian Litt assisted Salvation Army in the warehouse loading and unloading trucks of supplies.  His skills with a forklift and strong work ethic has been a value add to the warehouse operations.

October 27th - Distributed 512 gallons of water, sorted 138,072 pounds of donations. Three SBP team members accompanied Salvation Army personnel on a delivery of desperately needed water to an elderly community in the municipality of Caguas.  The community had reached out to Salvation Army for assistance and was very grateful for the much needed supplies.  

After hand delivering water, the team returned to the Salvation Army warehouse and unloaded 4 tractor trailers full of food and water.  In one afternoon the team unloaded and sorted 138,072 pounds of food and water that will be distributed across the island to individuals and families in need.