Women encourage volunteering for the South (Puerto Rico)

They became a communication vehicle for non-profit organizations.

Figure 1. Network of Volunteers’ Team

2020 began with the south of Puerto Rico shaking, causing the collapse of schools, homes, and families that lost everything. Then the Covid-19 pandemic arrived, but the needs were still there. Given this, five women came together to create the “Network of Volunteers” so that help continued to arrive. Mariangie Riestra, Jocelyne Acevedo, Aliz Sánchez, Marimar Acosta, and Paula Muñoz are the women behind the idea of ​​uniting through a chat about 60 non-profit organizations and 80 people to support and share resources for the South. These five women joined in 2017, making volunteering their way of life. In the face of the earthquakes, they realized that there was a lot of effort to help, but that they were being duplicated.

“Empezamos a ver las necesidades de las organizaciones sin fines de lucro y que habían muchas iniciativas de ayuda, pero la falta de comunicación entre ellas estaba causando que se duplicaran los esfuerzos,” explained the content creator of the page, Aliz Sánchez. Given this, the women created the solution to create a network chat of volunteers and unite everyone who was interested.

“Gracias al chat pudimos llegar a más personas, obtener más personal para las ayudas, y las organizaciones podían comunicar efectivamente qué es lo que faltaba para no duplicar esfuerzos, que la ayuda llegará donde necesitaba llegar”, said the organization’s relationist, Marimar Acosta. The aid faced an obstacle when an unprecedented event hits the island: the Covid-19 pandemic. Despite this challenge, the network never ceased operations. People could not visit as before, but the technology was an ally in continuing the work. “Muchos de nosotros no podíamos llegar a las familias necesitadas, pero el chat nos permite continuar conectandolos con personas que podían continuar ayudando a través de ATH Móvil o PayPal,” said the organization’s Community Case Manager, Jocelyn Acevedo.

In the chat, they even have professionals such as engineers who, through Zoom, made home inspections. “With everything and the pandemic, each volunteer group within the chat sought to innovate to make the efforts arrive,” said Sánchez. Among the needs, they have witnessed have been material as well as mental health. “Las personas necesitaban muebles, neveras, reconstruir su hogar por completo, y al mismo tiempo ayuda para su salud mental” said the content creator of the page. Also, the project manager, Mariangie Riestra, reflected that the need was more than personal hygiene items. ”La gente perdió todo, todo, todo. Más allá que ropa o comprita se necesitaban camas, muebles, neveras, casas completas”, he added. In the South this past 2020 has not stopped shaking. The women behind this network seek to encourage that aid is not only at the time of the catastrophe, but that it is continuous. “Nos encantaría lograr una cultura de voluntariado, que sea más allá que cuando hay una catástrofe o salga en las noticias, pero que realmente estemos todos pendientes a quien tenemos a nuestro lado,” said Riestra.

To join the Volunteer Network or obtain more information, you can visit its website: https://networkdevoluntarios.wixsite.com/website or search for it on Facebook as “Network of Volunteers”.


Rico, S. (2020). Mujeres fomentan el voluntariado para el Sur. NotiCel. https://www.noticel.com/article/top-stories/20210101/mujeres-fomentan-el-voluntariado-para-el-sur/https://www.noticel.com/article/top-stories/20210101/mujeres-fomentan-el-voluntariado-para-el-sur/

Figure 1. Part of the Network of Volunteers’ TeamSource: https://www.noticel.com/article/top-stories/20210101/mujeres-fomentan-el-voluntariado-para-el-sur/https://www.noticel.com/article/top-stories/20210101/mujeres-fomentan-el-voluntariado-para-el-sur/