This topic is very special to us at ConsumersAdvocate.org because we are based in Puerto Rico. In September 2017, Hurricane Maria hit our island home head-on, carving a path of destruction from the southeast to the northwest. Hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses were damaged. According to Harvard University, the death toll is now estimated to be 4,645, making it one of the deadliest natural disasters in American history.

Our entire team was profoundly affected by the hurricanes. As we scrambled to recover, we knew we need to help as many others as possible. As a company, we raised almost $200K for hurricane relief and we’ve provided additional assistance to several relief groups. Many of our employees have volunteered their time.

So when one of our partners in travel insurance asked us for the best volunteer opportunities on the island, we couldn’t wait to do what we do every day: identify the best.

Every year, some of the employees at Travelex Insurance Services do what they love best: travel. The team at Travelex also tries to incorporate volunteer work into their trips. Since Puerto Rico is in such extreme need, they reached out to us for a better understanding of who could accommodate their group.

Fortunately, thousands of volunteers have come to help the island recover from the hurricanes and to lay the foundation for a rebuilt and more resilient Puerto Rican economy and infrastructure. Good-hearted people have tarped roofs, provided medical and legal services, repaired damaged farms and businesses, installed sustainable water and electrical technologies, and established institutions aimed at helping the island renew and rebuild itself.

Whether you are bringing a group or traveling as an individual, if you are considering a trip to help Puerto Rico, know that there are millions of people here who will be grateful for your help. And there are many opportunities to make a difference. Here are some of them that can help make your planning easier and impact greater.


TOP 8 COMPANIES

#1
  • Operations in Yabucoa and Barranquitas, Puerto Rico and 17 other countries
  • Focuses on critical home repairs (especially roofs) and community spaces and schools
  • Emphasizes resilient construction
  • Provides free training for volunteers who want to be construction site supervisors
  • 51,000+ volunteers around the world
  • Rated 4 Stars by Charity Navigator and Platinum by GuideStar
  • Accepts volunteers from all backgrounds; no experience necessary; must be at least 16

 

#2
  • 25 years of relief work experience
  • Open to people of all faiths
  • “We do not ask ‘Who are you?’ but rather ‘How can we help?'”
  • Focuses on rebuilding homes
  • No experience necessary
  • Open to people 14 years and older
  • Provides accommodations, meals, and tools
  • Accepts individuals and groups
#3
  • Launched after Hurricane Maria in November 2017
  • Works directly with community leaders
  • Distributes essential articles and supplies house by house
  • Focused on the southeast sector of the island
  • No skills or previous experience necessary
  • All volunteers are welcome
#4
  • Founded in 1997 to help families and individuals attain a better future
  • Part of the greater Habitat for Humanity global organization
  • Focuses on helping those in need of home ownership and rehabilitation
  • Special volunteer programs for helping women and the impaired
  • Help rebuild Puerto Rico
#5
  • Spearheading environmental conservation activities in Puerto Rico since 2013
  • Works to protect natural resources, recuperate species, and restore ecosystems
  • Does volunteer work throughout Puerto Rico together with other organizations
  • Manages several protected green areas and four visitor centers on the island
  • Is able to host large groups with prior notice
  • Become a member of AMIGOS Para la Naturaleza for discounts on certain activities and events
  • Seeking lawyers and lawstudents (not paralegals)
  • Offer and participate in trainings
  • Collect legal knowledge and information
  • Provide direct legal assitance
  • Volunteers expected to provide their own housing, travel, and meals
#7
  • A grassroots network of people building resilience
  • Uses the arts to promote conservation and ecological issues
  • Groups of volunteers work on local farms and with the US Forestry Service
  • Ideal for people who want to work outside and in nature
#8
  • The only 501(c)(3) animal rescue group in Puerto Rico helping unwanted and in-need horses
  • Helps rescue and sterilize hundreds of homeless animals every year
  • Provides veterinary services and adoption marketing for rescued animals
  • Winner of the 2018 Platinum GuideStar Seal of Transparency
  • 2018 Top-Rated Nonprofit by Great Nonprofits

Following is the ‘Full Review Page” for Defensa done by Consumers Advocate dot org in 2018

Again this is a copy & paste of the original article in case they take the pages down

Defensa Animal De Rincon Volunteer Opportunities in Puerto Rico Review

ConsumersAdvocate.org Rating: 9.8 / 10 (Excellent)

Disclosure: We receive advertising revenue from some partners.

Learn more.
Defensa de Animal Rincón is nonprofit animal rescue organization based in Rincón, Puerto Rico that helps sick and neglected animals. Defensa helps volunteers rescue and sterilize dog and cats and puts them up for adoption. The nonprofit also deals extensively with horses, which it takes in, feeds, and trains.

Summary

There is a profound need for the kind of work Defensa de Animal Rincón does in Puerto Rico. Because there are so many animals on the streets, Defensa welcomes all volunteers interested in working with them. Although the organization is highly localized, it has an excellent island-wide reputation and has received several awards for its efforts. People looking for volunteer work opportunities with Defensa are likely to be more than satisfied with their experience.

Type of Volunteer Work

Defensa de Animal Rincón provides a variety of animal rescue resources, but volunteers focus mostly on two things: saving homeless animals and taking care of rescued horses. Because the organization has no shelter for dogs or cats, it helps volunteers get them patched up at a vet, and then provides assistance to get them adopted. Volunteers also walk dogs around and generally interact with the animals to help them socialize better. Horses (and pigs and cows, in some circumstances) are taken in and cared for by Defensa volunteers. In both Rincón and Aibonito, volunteers are needed to feed, water, and train horses that have been rescued. Unlike dealing with dogs and cats, this requires some degree of experience with horses.

Area and Scope of Operation

Defensa virtual headquarters are located in the Puerto Rican municipality of Rincón, where it has been leading its animal rescue services from since 2013. Rincón, which is situated in the island’s west coast, is well-known for its beaches, sunsets, and surfer culture. The town was founded in 1771 is spread over 9 wards plus the Rincón Pueblo (downtown and administrative center) ward. The municipality’s primary source of revenue is tourism, thanks to its many excellent beaches.

Rincón has a large number of stray dogs and cats and homeless horses as well. For this reason, the organization’s work is focused there. However, Defensa can still help people with animals they have rescued anywhere else on the Island, especially horses which it can take in and care for. Spanish-speaking volunteers interested in helping the organization with its rescued horses may also help at its sister horse sanctuary in the mountain municipality of Aibonito, Puerto Rico.

Volunteer Support

Defensa provides payment for any veterinary services an animal may need when rescued. When volunteers rescue a cat or dog, for example, they can contact the organization to locate a veterinary center in their vicinity. Defensa then sends authorizations via email to everyone involved. Large groups of volunteers seeking support can contact the organization to arrange for their accommodations. Defensa will generally schedule volunteer activities in a way that is adjusted to the volunteer or volunteer group’s needs.

Reputation

Defensa has an excellent reputation online. Among its accomplishments are two awards by top nonprofit rating agencies: the 2018 Platinum GuideStar Seal of Transparency and 2018 Top-Rated Nonprofit by GreatNonprofits.com. The organization is very active on social media and collaborates with other outfits that take care of animals, such as PintosRUs and La Quinta de Aragón for horses.