Seven nonprofit organizations in Vieques and Culebra received $95,000 in donations from the Hispanic Federation of Puerto Rico Recovery and Relief Fund, established by the Hispanic Federation in the Puerto Rico Community Foundation, to promote economic development and the conservation of the environment in both island municipalities.
The organizations benefited in Vieques are: Vieques en Rescate, Inc.; Vieques Rotary Club Inc.; ViequesLove Inc.; TICATOVE Inc.; and Concerned Residents for Improvement Inc. (COREFI.) Meanwhile, the organizations established in Culebra are: Mujeres de Islas Inc. and CORALations Inc. Each entity received between $9,822 and $15,420.
One of the economic development projects in Vieques will be the development of a peppermint and mint production greenhouse to establish an agricultural enterprise, led by Vieques en Rescate Inc., an organization that has the Vieques Conservation and Historical Trust as its fiscal agent.
Tourism will also be strengthened by an initiative by the Vieques Rotary Club Inc. through the “Jobs in Tourism” project. In addition, COREFI will promote the generation of jobs related to housekeeping and handyman services for the elderly, bedridden and/or people with disabilities.
Furthermore, environmental conservation receive support through ViequesLove Inc. and TICATOVE Inc. With the donation, ViequesLove Inc. will contribute to the reforestation of the island municipality with the acquisition of 400 fruit trees. Meanwhile, TICATOVE Inc. will reinforce the Beach Cleanup and Turtle Nest Monitoring Project, which in turn will have an impact on tourism businesses.
“This donation is very important because Vieques en Rescate Inc. feeds from donations and activities that we carry out during the year. This donation will help us to develop a harvest with the goal of marketing what is produced — peppermint and mint. — and that would be the income that Vieques en Rescate will receive to help us continue serving our patients and cancer survivors,” said Elba Oquendo, president of Vieques en Rescate Inc.
In the case of Culebra, the donation to Mujeres de Islas Inc., will be to support the restoration process of the dining room of the old Antonio R. Barceló school, now known as the Living Experiences Learning Center, to turn it into a healthy cooking community workshop, and into a social enterprise. In addition, the donation will allow CORALations Inc. to recruit two reef guards and a project coordinator.
“For our community, the contribution made by the Puerto Rico Community Foundation and the Hispanic Federation will allow us to develop possible solidarity micro-enterprises related to the provision of food. This is in addition to becoming the first solar community kitchen in our resilient hub,” said Dulce del Río Pineda, organizational coordinator of Mujeres de Islas Inc.