A Roof For Don Jose
A broom, an extension cord, a pair of pants with a rusty lawn chair… to hold down a blue tarp on the house of Don Jose. 🙏🏾 These living conditions are inhumane — and no one has come to help the eighty-year-old man in the tens months since hurricane Maria. Such is the reality of too many Puerto Ricans all across the island… but we don’t stand by idly. Because “not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced,” as James Baldwin said (whose birthday is today). When our #ChefsForPuertoRico volunteers were delivering food, they came across the house of a man by the name of Jose Andres (I kid you not) who was living alone and without a roof. Every single thing was wet, mildewed, corroded — from the mattresses to the chairs, clothing to stove, and few possessions in the simple home without either power or water. He keeps his few important possessions, like the official deed to this property his mother bought in the seventies, under his small mattress, which is the only part partially covered by water-drenched wood. Even the shoddy blue tarp was not installed properly and no one has returned to check on or replace it. This is tragic, unhealthy and shameful. We could complain or wait for government action that will never arrive, but we haven once again chosen to act in rapid, decisive and tangible ways. Our volunteers attempted to fix the tarp to the best of their ability, our community partners returned to clean and rid the home of nearly all ruined possessions, and we have now hired a local contractor to fix Don Jose’s roof, with funds volunteers have raised. Construction began today. Once he has a roof, we’ll begin organizing a bed, clothes, simple kitchen, basic necessities. If you want to help, please please let me know… you can donate to the volunteers’ gofundme gofundme.com/a-roof-for-jose, funds that I am deploying or via PayPal to my email and I promise it will go to good use. It takes a village. And this beautiful man needs and deserves our humanity.