Caguas, Puerto Rico
The Centro de Apoyo Mutuo is a community center currently located in the former buildings of the May Maria Montañez Gomez Elementary School, which has been closed and abandoned for more than 15 years. Eight days after Hurricane Maria, local community members occupied the building and began transforming it into a community center dedicated to filling the gap left by inadequate government relief efforts. Currently, the building houses a kitchen, community dining room, tool library, free medical clinic with acupuncture, medical storage and food storage rooms, and bathrooms.
Building Back Better
During site visits in March, the leaders of CAM Caguas reported significant challenges in maintaining reliable power. Prior to Footprint’s intervention, CAM Caguas used ten gallons of gasoline per day to power their kitchen’s generator. Coordinating with Solar Libre, Footprint solved CAM Caguas’ energy problem. On April 19, the day of an island-wide blackout, local partners installed an off-grid solar system (4 kW solar array, 12 kWh battery bank, 6 kWh inverter) to power their refrigerators and community kitchen.