Carlos Rodriguez, founder and leader of the Happy Non-Profit and The Happy Givers, was recently featured in national coverage of how Puerto Ricans are pushing through and rebuilding after another storm has hit the island.
Locals were trying to recover Thursday (Sept. 22) days after Hurricane Fiona hit Puerto Rico with historic flooding — just five years after Hurricane Maria killed nearly 3,000 people.
According to The Associated Press: “Government officials have been working with religious groups, nonprofits and others braving landslides, thick mud and broken asphalt by foot to provide food, water and medicine for people in need, but they are under pressure to clear a path so vehicles can enter isolated areas soon.”
Among those nonprofits trying to provide basic needs to devastated locals is Rodriguez’s The Happy Givers, which has been working to provide “good, fresh, delicious, [and] healthy” food to neighbors in need.
The meals they prepare include food that the nonprofit grows and harvests itself, via its community farm and social kitchen.
A former North Carolina resident and pastor, Rodriguez returned to his native island five years ago after Maria hit the U.S. territory. As he told CBS Mornings correspondent David Begnaud, the nonprofit wouldn’t be successful without local support.
“They’re the heroes. They’ve survived Irma, Maria, earthquakes, pandemics. They’re still smiling, they’re still giving. They’re the true happy givers,” he said.
On September 19, The Happy Givers shared a video on Instagram showing how its property was also impacted by severe flooding.
“Here’s our farm, our campus, our kitchen, our production area, our community,” the caption reads of the video showing buildings surrounded by water. “Still, tomorrow at 10am we will be there. Cooking for our community, organizing teams to do clean up, visiting the elderly with doctors and first aid kits.”
“The work we have done for 5 years, we’ll do it for 50 more,” it continued, tacking on a graphic of Puerto Rico’s flag.
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The nonprofit welcomes donations, which can be specifically targeted toward certain needs via its website.