Humanitarian work in the Dominican Republic
Melanie and I participated in a weeklong humanitarian service project to the Dominican Republic with a group called the Dominican Starfish Foundation (www. dominicanstarfish.org) in cooperation with PAL Humanitarian.
We donated money and helped raise funds prior to our departure, which were used upon our arrival to help the foundation construct new homes for less fortunate families whose homes were condemned or who were left homeless due to fire or other disasters.
Our group of 20 raised the funds and participated in the construction of the foundation’s 25th home and began the demolition of their 26th home. These families were living in extreme circumstances of poverty and hunger. They were identified by the foundation as candidates for new homes and we were able to work with the families, local workers and other volunteers in several areas of the construction process.
The work was very tiring and strenuous but super fulfilling and gratifying. We were also able to collect donated clothing, hats, shoes, sunglasses and medicine, which we used to distribute to a refugee camp of Haitian and Dominican refugees whose 64 homes were destroyed by a large fire in June. The fire occurred in a shantytown where the late-night blaze spread from house to house, causing widespread damage to this very poor neighborhood. These individuals were without homes, beds, clothing, shoes and food.
Our group of 20 were able to distribute food items, clothing, shoes and vitamins to over 200 individuals. Our group also visited and donated items to a school, pediatric hospital and a nursing home.
Lance Wilson stands in the town square of Munoz, a village outside of Puerto Plata in the Dominican Republic. This village was ravaged by fire, destroying 64 homes. In the background, the bare earth that used to be the location of many of the destroyed homes can be seen. To the left are some of the homes built out of block that were damaged by fire but are still standing.