Help Puerto Rico Recover From Hurricane Maria | No Program Fee

This program is no longer offered. View more programs from All Hands and Hearts.

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About Program

In the fall of 2017, Hurricane Irma landed in Puerto Rico with the strongest winds the island has ever seen. Not long after, Hurricane Maria’s ferocious 155 mph winds struck the island, leaving a trail of destruction in its wake. Hurricane Maria first made landfall over the municipality of Yabucoa, affecting the 37,000 residents who call it home. This area bore the strongest brunt of the storm, where hundreds of homes are still in need of basic roof repairs today.

Our team in Yabucoa is working on mucking and gutting projects, debris removal, repairing of roofs, performing mold sanitation, and critical repairs on windows and doors. We are also focusing on community spaces in need of clean up/repair.

To make it easier for volunteers to join us, we provide free accommodation and meals. No construction experience is required - just an eagerness to work hard for a good cause.

We hope to welcome you in Puerto Rico soon!
Visit our site now!

Program Highlights
  • NO program fee, + receive free accommodation and meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner provided).
  • Have the opportunity to aid a community post-disaster.
  • Undergo on-site construction training (with tools and equipment provided. No previous construction experience is required to volunteer with us.)
  • Broaden your global insight and gain valuable hands-on experience while volunteering in Puerto Rico.
  • Meet volunteers from all over the world committed to service.

Program Impact

All Hands and Hearts - Smart Response effectively and efficiently addresses the immediate and long-term needs of communities impacted by natural disasters. By listening to local people, and deploying our unique model of engaging volunteers to enable direct impact, we rebuild safe, resilient schools, homes and other community infrastructure.

Through community and volunteer engagement, we aim to help families recover faster after natural disasters using our "smart response" strategy. By rebuilding in a disaster resilient way, we prepare them for future events and, through the process, strengthen both volunteers and communities.

After publically committing to continue working in Puerto Rico until September 2019, our relief efforts in Yabucoa are still going strong. Thanks to our dedicated volunteers, who gave 66,712 combined volunteer hours to help rebuild Puerto Rico, we have wrapped up our efforts in Bananaquits and Toa Baja.

Volunteer Applications are now open!

Join All Hands and Hearts as we work to rebuild communities affected by disasters. We are rebuilding homes in California damaged by recent wildfires and homes in Southwest Louisiana following Hurricanes Laura and Delta. Looking for international travel? We are rebuilding schools in the Bahamas after Hurricane Dorian and building a community center and WaSH (Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene) facilities in Guatemala following Hurricanes Eta and Iota!

Popular Programs

Mangkhut made landfall in the Philippine province of Cagayan late on September 14, as a Category 5-equivalent super typhoon; it was the third-strongest typhoon worldwide in 2018. All Hands and Hearts has identified schools within the Cagayan province which sustained destructive impacts from both typhoons and have yet to receive help. We will be working to rebuild a primary school which accommodates over 170 students, aged 6 – 12 years old.

After more than four years in Nepal, we’ve impacted 22,000+ lives through our relief efforts—putting families back in homes and children back in schools in the districts of Kathmandu, Sindhupalchowk, and Nuwakot. The Nepalese people are still in dire need of support and children are still unable to go to school or are attending unsafe, temporary schools. Join us today in Nepal today as we continue to work on another three schools.

Program Reviews

9.64 Rating
based on 11 reviews
  • 9-10 rating 90.91%
  • 7-8 rating 9.09%
  • 5-6 rating 0%
  • 3-4 rating 0%
  • 1-2 rating 0%
  • Impact 9.4
  • Support 9.5
  • Fun 9
  • Value 9.9
  • Safety 9.9
Showing 1 - 8 of 11
Default avatar
Mark
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

A Great Organization to Volunteer With

I have volunteered with All Hands and Hearts (AHAH) in Puerto Rico twice since Hurricane Maria. The first time was for four months in 2018 and the second for two months in 2020. I have also volunteered with AHAH on several programs outside of the US. This organization provides a volunteer experience like no other. People of all nationalities and age groups come together to help a community recover from a natural disaster. No prior experience in disaster relief is required; you just need to show up and be willing to work. AHAH will teach you the skills necessary for the work you will do. AHAH has had a tremendous impact on the communities it has served in Puerto Rico.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Although there are a lot of opportunities to socialize with other volunteers and with the community, come knowing that you are expected to work hard.
1 person found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Sid
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Awesome time with awesome people

My wife and I volunteered together for two weeks and then I came back for two months. The whole goal was to make a difference for the people of Puerto Rico and I feel that we accomplished that goal. But all the while we were volunteering, I felt like I gained from the experience more than what I put in to it. The other volunteers and staff are so amazing and inclusive that we are looking for more opportunities to volunteer with them in the future.

If you have the time (I know most people's time, as mine, is, important), this is one organization that you have to try. You will not regret it and will walk away with a sense of giving and a your heart enlarged.

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
The people are so amazing. I was on a team that was repairing windows and doors that were damaged in hurricane Maria. I had one homeowner give me a present for helping her. It really touched my heart and made my trip all the more memorable and fulfilling.
1 person found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Karin
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Repeat Volunteer

This is my third time volunteering with AHAH here in Puerto Rico, seeing the improvements in the area is very rewarding. Driving by the little league stadiums, churches, community centers and houses that have been addressed gets more impressive with each return trip. The opportunity to get to know the individual homeowners and their stories is truly unique. The resilience and love of the Puerto Rican people is inspiring. The chance to work with people of all ages from all nationalities is also a draw for me. The friendships I've made will last a life time.

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
When volunteers are working we wear very distinctive, purple t-shirts which are recognized everywhere that we go. Just running in to the grocery store could take 10-15 minutes longer as you are thanked, hugged and blessed by the store customers. Each one knows someone, friend or family, that have been, or will be helped, to make their homes safe and livable again by the AHAH volunteers.
1 person found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Dana
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Wonderful experience!

Last year I volunteered with AHAH in St. Thomas and had such a great experience I decided to go to Puerto Rico for another week of volunteering. I found both locations to be very well organized and relaxed, but structured.

The communication before the trip was great. When they confirm your spot, they sent you a volunteer packet containing the work you'll be doing and information on what to bring and what it's like to stay on base. All the information was clear and helpful and I felt completely prepared before leaving. They reached out to ensure that my flights were booked and had transportation to base,

Staying on base is free and includes all three meals on the weekdays. They'll ask you to set up a donation page and I recommend donating yourself to help cover the cost in addition to sharing it with friends, family, and on social media.

Both experiences were wonderful and I plan on heading to the Bahamas next year.

2 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Mariel
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Volunteer with All Hands and Hearts!!!

I've been volunteering with All Hands on and off for a couple years and it's so much fun! I've been to Houston, Florida, and now Puerto Rico. I first heard about the organization when I served with AmeriCorps NCCC. I saw a Response program and fell in love. It was fast paced, full of fun individuals and so many opportunities to learn. We mucked and gutted, sanitized and then even got the chance to do rebuild. No matter what program you volunteer for it will be such a great experience. All Hands has a way of bringing strangers together and making them family. It sounds cheesy but it's true, I've met some of the most inspirational and positive people. Just check it out online, pick a spot and volunteer on your next break/vacation. No time is too little. DO IT!

What was your funniest moment?
I won a bet and poured an entire cooler of gatorade on someone. It was epic.
1 person found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Rebecca
7/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Good people working towards a good cause

When you volunteer with All Hands you become a part of a community of people who want to do what they can to help people. The work is hard. You could be working on a roof in the sun all day, or sanitizing a house in a Tyvek suite. The people you meet make it all worth it.

The accommodations are similar to a hostel. There are bunk beds and air mattresses. During the week, all your food is provided. The homeowners might even show their gratitude by serving you a delicious authentic home cooked meal. You make your own breakfast and lunch, and the dinners are cooked by two women in the community.

During the weekend, you can adventure around the island. I've seen so many beautiful beaches and mountains. You can go hiking and jump off of giant rocks! All hands is definitely a work hard, play hard vibe.

Come here if you want to work hard all day, seek views in the afternoon and spend your evenings getting to know people from all walks of life.

What would you improve about this program?
I wish that this program was better funded, so they could afford to hire more qualified site supervisors. The program gives volunteers opportunities to lead teams, but they are often inexperienced in the scope of work.
2 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Greg
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Working hard (and sweating!) for a great cause in PR

AHAH is exceptionally well run. Their recovery and relief mission here in Yabucoa, Puerto Rico is well executed. The base camp is organized, well equipped and efficient. Just as important, the staff nurture a warm, welcoming culture sustained by the long term volunteers. I am here for two weeks, a relatively short stint, and am enjoying the job site camaraderie and strong work ethic. The days are hot and sweaty. None of the roof repair, mold sanitization, or numerous other jobs are easy but there are zero slackers or complainers. I’m impressed and humbled. This is a great experience.

What would you improve about this program?
Not recommending bringing a sleeping bag. Sheets and possibly a light blanket are sufficient.
1 person found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Grace
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

This Is The Program You Have Been Searching For

Cannot speak more highly of a program/organization. I was given the oppurtuinity to engage and help the community of Yabucoa recover from Hurricane Maria, while forming the strongest relationships with fellow volunteers from all around the world. AHAH has no fee to vounteer and provides housing and food for all those on base, making the experience meaniful and financially possible for individuals on a budget. Working from 7-3 every day AHAH taught me discpline and living communally with 60+ other vols has taought patience. I have been able to explore the island of Puerto Rico while also working harder than I ever have before. I am so grateful to have found this program and hope that others will find their experience as meaningful as mine. xo

2 people found this review helpful.

Questions & Answers

To be a Residential Volunteer and sleep at our base you must be 18 or over. Volunteers age 16 and 17 are welcome to join as Day Volunteers, provided they are joined by a guardian at least 18 years of age who will also be joining as a Day Volunteer. As a Day Volunteer, you will be responsible for your own meals and accommodation and will meet our team in the field each day.

Yes! We welcome volunteers from all over!

Hi there! We are happy to accommodate vegetarian diets but at this time cannot accommodate vegan diets. Thanks for reaching out!

Hi! Unfortunately, all residential volunteers must be 18 or older. Thank you for reaching out!