By John Alex
October 6, 2017
We’re back here again. I have never experienced anything like the past month in my 16 years of disaster work. I have also never been as frustrated as with the situation in Puerto Rico. No way in for two weeks! It has become a true humanitarian disaster for our fellow citizens.
We leave, finally, on Sunday. We are going to the town of Comerio in the central part of the island. They have received no aid, no water, and the hospital and three of the four pharmacies were completely lost. They do not have power. We are bringing medical supplies, solar lamps, and enough water filters to generate 5000 gallons of water per day if needed. We plan to haul in food and toiletries from San Juan daily while we are there.
The UAF team is tired, physically and especially emotionally after the continuous disasters. I am certain everyone is feeling the fatigue. As I told our wonderful group of volunteers, this is what we signed up for and everyone has responded- at great personal sacrifice. I feel privileged to call them friends.
We need your kind assistance with our efforts. Please consider giving direct aid to the people of Comerio at
President-United Aid Foundation
Teams members came together last week in Houston from NYC, Boston, New Jersey, Louisiana, and Florida to aid flood victims from hurricane Harvey.
We had promised to gut 10 houses and do mold remediation on an entire block in South Houston. We also promised 10 “packages” of appliances including stoves, refrigerators, microwaves, box fans, and blow up mattresses.
We completed the 10 houses and mold remediation.
We were able to bring 5 more appliance packages and get 6 more locally for a total of 21. After speaking to the community we were able to buy and distribute needed soft goods such as towels, underwear, kids clothing, food, baby food and formula, diapers, wipes, cleaning supplies, toys and games, and pet food. We purchased enough to go back twice and distribute.
Through our YouGiveGoods drive, we will be able to speak to our community and deliver another round of goods needed in two weeks.
These people still have a long road ahead. The trauma of escaping by boat with your life, coupled with returning and throwing away the contents of your home and everything you worked for on the street will certainly have lasting effects. The uncertainty of what comes next can’t help.
UAF will continue to be there for this community to help them get on their feet.
A message from United Aid Foundation founder John Alex:
You want know what commitment and honor look like?
Cenovio Villa is driving a truck right now from Plantation City FL to Houston. He surveyed the damage from Harvey last weekend and is loaded up with stoves, refrigerators, microwaves, and fans to get families back into their homes.
I spoke to Cenovio somewhere on the Florida panhandle. I told him Irma doesn’t looks so good for him and it was ok to go back to his family.
“No way, I looked those people in Houston in eye and promised them. Even if I have to turn around and drive 19 hours back to Florida to take care of my own family, I am keeping my promise.”
Amazing stuff. I am proud to call myself Cenovio’s friend.
For over a decade, UAF has responded to disasters all over the world. When disaster strikes here in our own country, we will be there. Cenovio Villa and I will go to Houston this weekend to assess the needs and, working with local community leaders, identify a community most underserved for our direct attention.
We know how bad it’s going to get after the water recedes from our experience in Baton Rouge. We are going to have an integrated response: Clean and gut houses. Critical appliances. Food, toiletries, clothes, schools supplies so people can safely get some semblance of their lives back.
We started United Aid Foundation out of frustration with the largesse of large non-profits and government organizations. We don’t take salaries and we aren’t looking for glory (not that there is any in this type of work). We spend our time and money in a desire to help our fellow human beings most in need.
If you want to see where your donation is going, what it is buying, and meet the people you are helping, make a donation to UAF http://www.unitedaidfoundation.org/support-us/ our GoFundMe drive https://www.gofundme.com/uaf-rebuilds-houston/ or buy an item from our you are interested in volunteering, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Feel free, of course, to forward this to anyone like-minded.
Follow our doings on Facebook and Twitter. Thank you in advance
Hurricane Harvey has left a swath of destruction throughout Texas and is rapidly moving into parts of Louisiana. So far 30 people have lost their lives. Millions more are displaced, losing everything they own.
“United Aid Foundation has experience in disaster relief, in Katrina, Baton Rouge, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Haiti,” said UAF founder John Alex. “But this is on a scale we have not seen before.”
United Aid Foundation also has experience in rehabbing homes that have been flooded and damaged with black mold. Currently UAF is holding a drive to deliver most-needed relief items to those suffering. When the flood waters recede UAF volunteers will be working with vulnerable neighborhoods helping families rebuild.
HOUSTON, TEXAS — TUESDAY, AUGUST 29, 2017: Residential neighborhoods near the Interstate 10 sit in floodwater in the wake of Hurricane Harvey on August 29, 2017 in Houston, Texas. (Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
By UAF founder John Alex
Happy New Year from United Aid Foundation!
With all of your help, we have given direct aid to thousands all over the world in the past ten years. From kids we are raising in Romania, families in Baton Rouge, Nepal and Haiti, villagers in Mali, to students in Pakistan and Uganda. No bureaucracy and nothing in the middle. Just you to them.
We have fallen in love with the people wherever we have been and in 2017 we will be going back to help more. We are also exploring exciting new things for 2017. Potentially helping hungry kids in Cenral America and hopefully making some impact on the refugees from the war torn areas in the Middle East and North Africa. Stay tuned.
I want to wish everyone a happy and meaningful 2017. Personally, I have tried for the past ten years to put into words what this experience has meant to me and my life. I am still trying…
A note from Jon Schmitz, UAF Board Chairman
Friends of UAF,
I hope you all had a nice Thanksgiving holiday and were able to spend your holidays with loved ones.
This summer I was humbled to have been asked to Chair the Board of the United Aid Foundation and honored to be the next steward leading the organization. Since first volunteering with UAF six years ago, I have grown as an individual, made life-long friends and helped as many people as possible through both fundraising and mission trips to Haiti and Nepal.
Jon helping build houses by hauling dirt in Nepal
We all have our unique reasons for giving to and being a part of the UAF community. In accepting this role, I further reflected on why I am a part of UAF and acknowledged that this is who I am and will always be. It started when I was a young man, earning my Eagle Scout in eastern Washington State, continued with volunteering as an EMT during undergrad in the Bronx and more recently fulfilled when building houses in Haiti and Nepal. In short, UAF and leading the board combines two life-long passions of mine: Service to others and emergency preparedness.
I often think back to my time with the Boy Scouts and how applicable the motto Be Prepared is in everything we do. As I think about how we as a community can further create an impact, I plan to challenge every member of our strong UAF community to further prepare.
One immediate challenge I have for you is to considering a donation to UAF this Giving Tuesday. As we plan and prepare where we can next give direct aid to those who need it most, having your support will help us to further the mission. The ultimate goal with your donation will be further amplification of our efforts, no matter which mission we’re serving, no matter who we’re helping.
Just click here http://www.unitedaidfoundation.org/support-us/
Thank you for your consideration. Health and love to you and yours.
Chairman of the Board, United Aid Foundation