Hurricane Maria, the strongest hurricane witnessed in more than 80 years, devastated Puerto Rico on 20th September 2017. The storm left the country crippled with no electricity, loss of communities and homes, and growing health concerns among the residents. SSIO volunteers from Puerto Rico and the USA mainland responded by offering their support to help rebuild and revitalize the area. SSIO members in Miami dispatched a chartered flight carrying supplies of food, personal hygiene items, and torchlights for 100 people, bringing rays of hope to those affected.
With support from the Sri Sathya Sai World Foundation, SSIO volunteers distributed portable water filters in Puerto Rico to purify available drinking water. The first batch of 750 water filters reached impacted families in Morovis, Comerio, Trujillo, Yabucoa, Mayagüez, Naranjito, Barranquitas, Dorado, and Maunavo. Volunteers also trained the recipients on how to use and maintain the equipment to ensure its safe operation. A second batch of 674 filters arrived in early December 2017 for distribution to extremely needy families all around the island. SSIO members from New Jersey, USA, helped also to buy new buckets so that recipients could make the best use of the water filters. As SSIO volunteers busied themselves procuring supplies and assembling and distributing filters to affected families, Sai Spiritual Education (SSE) children in Puerto Rico kept equally busy affixing labels bearing the quote “Love All, Serve All” to the filters.