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Six Things We Learned in Puerto Rico

For the second year in a row, the Branson/Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce planned an immersion trip in Puerto Rico. Here’s some things to know.

By Jenna deJong

Mar 01 2020 at 3:01 p.m.

Juanito Borques outside his home.
Photo by Jenna deJongThe Branson/Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce connected with Juanito Borques through the Humacao municipality. Humacao was one of the hardest hit communities by Hurricane Maria, and as a resident, Borques' home suffered major damage.

We joined the Branson/Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce to cover its activities in Puerto Rico. Look for an in-depth story in an upcoming issue of Biz 417, but for now, here’s what you need to know: 

1. The Branson/Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce recruits heavily from Puerto Rico to fill needed positions within its community, and has done so for the last four years. 

2. Now with over 500 Puerto Ricans living in southwest Missouri at any given time, the Branson/Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce is striving to give back to the island with an immersion trip each year. This year was its second give-back trip on the island. 

3. Trip-goers included 10 laborers, a few people from the chamber and some of its partner associations. 

4. This year’s week-long trip had a few different aspects to it: the chamber renovated a local man’s home; helped donate 84 gallons of sealant used to patch roofs; helped coordinate a donation of medical supplies from CoxHealth to Vieques, a small island off the coast of Puerto Rico; and helped coordinate a community outreach event with Convoy of Hope

5. To pay for the renovations of the home, the chamber reached out to its members to raise enough funds to complete the project and recruited the help of a laborer’s union to get it done. The chamber raised $30,000 that was used to pay for paint, supplies, tools, appliances, furniture and more. 

6. The Branson/Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce partnered with numerous organizations to make this year’s trip happen, including locals like CoxHealth and Convoy of Hope, and others like the municipality of Humacao and Profesa, a Puerto Rican professional organization based out of South, Florida. 

Keep an eye out for more details about this story in the May/June 2020 issue of Biz 417, and check out both our Twitter and editor Jenna deJong’s Twitter for more about the trip. 

Juanito Borques with the group that renovated his home
Photo by Jenna deJongJuanito Borques with the group that renovated his home. The project took four days.
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