The Rev. Jose Rodriguez
After Hurricane Maria, the Episcopal Diocese of Central Florida became a key player in serving displaced families from Puerto Rico. The Abuelitas volunteer program connects Spanish-speaking “grandmothers” from local churches with displaced families to help them apply for services and to offer advice on adapting to the new environment. As part of this program, the diocese offers housing assistance, job training and other forms of support, working with over 100 families. Two years after Hurricane Maria, the exodus to Central Florida continues. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the Puerto Rican population in Central Florida has jumped 12.5% post-Hurricane Maria, and families are still arriving every day. Right now, The Episcopal Church is one of the few direct services providers to Maria survivors left in Central Florida. Episcopal Relief & Development has supported this program since 2017.