New Beginnings For Don Jose
A changed home, a changed man, a changed spirit. A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about discovering Don Jose’s inhumane living conditions while delivering #ChefsForPuertoRico food in Toa Baja — an elderly man living under a blue tarp with nothing but a broom, extension cord, and pair of pants with a rusty lawn chair to hold it from flying away. Everything inside the humble home his mother left him was mildewed and corroded, including his small mattress, single chair, few clothes; he heated up food in a charred pot atop old charcoal in a hubcap; the home lacked both power and water; the yard was covered in trash, much of which had become embedded in the soil with flooding; the fallen roof and tree limbs remained strewn where Maria left them. No government agencies had come to help, which is a shameful, toxic, inexcusable tragedy.
But we don’t wait, complain or turn a blind eye; we acted decisively together with Don Jose and our incredible community leader Lola to create a safe, healthy, livable home. A few thousand dollars in donations (thanks to the hard work and heart of Brittany and generosity of Mano a Mano ayudando a Puerto Rico) allowed us to hire a local roofer and purchase supplies for a full day of hands-on group volunteering and physical labor, which made a world of difference… and this beautiful soul is now living in a newly-painted yellow house with a properly installed full coverage roof, secure doors, gas stove, new mattress, clean clothes, simple basic furniture, debris-free yard (the amount of waste and insidious plastic trash was unthinkable—that I was determined to unearth and remove properly, albeit painstakingly), walkable paths AND running water and reconnected power PLUS visits from a nurse and a social worker once a week, in addition to meal deliveries!
To see the unbelievable comparison, check my BEFORE post:
facebook.com/erinschrode/posts/10214711839604007. If you want to continue to help us support, care for and empower him, please please let me know. You can still donate to the volunteers’ gofundme gofundme.com/a-roof-for-jose or via my PayPal and all funds will be deployed directly by me for good use. I promise. We will stay the course with Don Jose and others to ensure no American citizen, no human here in Puerto Rico is forgotten, left behind or neglected.