More than a dozen members of the First Congregational Church in Winchester, Massachusetts participated in a week-long service trip to Puerto Rico to help with ongoing rebuilding efforts after the devastation of Hurricane Maria.
The group worked with Puerto Rico-based Hunger Corp. which hosted the First Congregational group as well as other volunteer groups from Texas, Chicago and New Jersey.
Volunteers were housed at a local church in Puerto Rico which provided shelter, food and water to those displaced after Hurricane Maria.
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"It's not just going there and volunteering, the community pitches in," participant Tom Kahl told NBC 10 Boston. "the overwhemling sense [from the community] is real gratitude."
Hunger Corp., a nonprofit organization with social aid projects in the Amazon, Honduras, Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico, works to rebuild homes and local farms over three to five years. During their trip, church congregants helped rebuild homes in the community of La Hormiga.
Throughout their stay, the volunteers experienced temporary power and water outages, which helped them understand how fragile the infrastructure remains in the region.
"The greatest need is anything involved in reconstruction," said Kahl.