Washington, DC (May 20, 2019) – The PepsiCo Foundation and its partners from the Pan American Development Foundation (PADF) and Para la Naturaleza (PLN) will hold a celebration on Wednesday, May 22nd, 2019 with members of the community of Juan Domingo in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico. The event will commemorate the installation of off-grid solar energy, water collection, and water filtration systems at the Juan Domingo en Acción community center.
This PepsiCo Foundation-supported initiative will strengthen disaster preparedness in the community of Juan Domingo by providing access to alternate sources of energy and safe drinking water following future hurricanes. This is the first of 10 installations that will be completed and begin serving communities across Puerto Rico by October 2019. An estimated 35,000 Puerto Ricans are expected to benefit from the project. The 10 sites supported under this initiative are in San Juan, Guaynabo, Loiza, Caguas, Rio Hondo, Utuado, Luquillo, and Culebra.
“Disaster events often hit disadvantaged communities the hardest, and hurricanes Irma and Maria were no exception,” said Katie Taylor, PADF Executive Director. “Millions were left without access to electricity, clean drinking water, and other vital services for several months.” Taylor adds, “By providing more reliable access to electricity and drinking water, we’re witnessing a shift in communities’ ability to reduce the harmful effects of future hurricanes.”
Fernando Lloveras San Miguel, President of PLN, says Puerto Rico’s dependence on fossil fuels and food imports puts residents at great risk to hurricanes. With support from PepsiCo Foundation and others, PLN is helping communities to have access to sustainable energy and attain food security through ecological farming. PLN is also leading reforestation efforts in Puerto Rico. Lloveras is proud that such investments are “promoting food security, advancing sustainability, ensuring that residents can enjoy basic services throughout the year, and improving quality of life for the people of Puerto Rico.”
According to Magdalena Hernandez, Executive Director of the community organization Juan Domingo en Acción, more than 60 families of children attending school at the Juan Domingo en Acción community center lost their homes following Hurricane Maria. Thanks to The PepsiCo Foundation and its partners, Hernandez said, “the school is going to become an oasis for energy and water for more than 300 families during future emergencies.”
“In emergency situations, community centers like those supported by this project often serve as eyes and ears in the community,” said Aaron Van Alstine, PADF Senior Program Manager for Disaster Resilience. “Members of these community-based organizations are uniquely positioned to monitor and understand the needs of the residents.” Van Alstine says, “Access to solar energy will improve their ability to relay life-saving information to emergency responders, to serve as hubs for the distribution of emergency aid, and to provide a crucial meeting space for community members to come together and support each other in times of extreme hardship.”
The PepsiCo Foundation and its partners at PADF and Para la Naturaleza will hold a tree planting ceremony at 10:30 a.m. AST on Wednesday, May 22 to celebrate the equipment installation at the Juan Domingo en Acción community center. The event will take place at Centro Andarínes, Avenida Los Robles, #55-57, Barrio Juan Domingo, Guaynabo, PR 00966.
About The PepsiCo Foundation
Established in 1962, The PepsiCo Foundation works with nonprofit partners and invests in the essential elements of a sustainable food system – helping alleviate hunger, manage water and waste responsibly, and support women as champions of nutrition from farm to family. For more information, visit https://www.pepsico.com/sustainability/philanthropy.
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