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WHEN ALL HOPE FADES

A category 5 hurricane is one of the most devastating events in nature that a person can experience.  For Blanca Rosa Garcia and her entire family, it was their worst nightmare. 

On September 20, 2017, Hurricane Maria tore their home to pieces. The sheer force of the hurricane blew the entire roof off of their home, crumbling three of the four exterior walls. Miraculously, no one was injured, though Blanca and her family were now faced a bleak future riddled with uncertainty.

In the months that followed, the situation became so dire that Blanca was forced to leave Puerto Rico and live with her family back in the United States due to the fact that there was no water or electricity, food and medicine had become scarce, and the roads were inaccessible. The rest of the Rosa family lived in a tent in the remains of their old living room.  Over time, what remained of the home began to grow mold and became a haven for insects and reptiles. Despite the many hazards, Blanca’s daughter Ivette continued living in these conditions — partially because she had nowhere else to go, and because she did not want to give up on rebuilding her family’s home. Ivette sought help from FEMA, The Puerto Rico State Department, the Municipality of Canóvanas, local churches — anyone who would listen.  One by one, each of those doors closed in front of Ivette. She felt truly hopeless.

One year later, Ivette was watching the local news at work and learned about the work Carlos Beltran Foundation and SBP were doing in her area to support hurricane survivors. Ivette reached out for assistance and was connected with SBP. 

After visiting the remains of the Garcia’s home, SBP and Carlos Beltran Foundation determined that a complete rebuild was required to provide the family with a safe and secure home. Ivette was skeptical, having been made similar promises from other organizations.  

It wasn’t long before the rebuilding work began, aided by many dedicated volunteers, AmeriCorps members and even the Garcia family, who rolled up their sleeves to do their part. In four months, home was finished and ready to live in again.

HOME AT LAST

On August 2, 2019, SBP celebrated Blanca’s Welcome Home Party. A number of staff from the Carlos Beltran Foundation and SBP, along with AmeriCorps members, volunteers and Carlos Beltran himself were present to share in the joyous moment.

“I believe SBP saved my daughter from reaching her breaking point,” Blanca said. “She had lost faith in humanity and was beginning to show signs of depression which worried me.” 

Blanca’s grandson, Francisco, was so appreciative of the work that SBP had done for his grandmother, he decided to join AmeriCorps and is now serving with SBP in Puerto Rico.

“I want to give back to other families what SBP has given to my family,” said Francisco.

Pr Blanca Garcia V7

Baseball legend Carlos Beltran shares a moment with Blanca after she returns to her newly rebuilt home.