BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Puerto Rico continues to struggle after being hit by the strongest earthquake in more than a century, and as residents continue to deal with strong aftershocks and a lack of water and electricity, a group of volunteers from the Baltimore area are heading south to help aid the region’s recovery.

Members of Breath of God Lutheran Church in Baltimore’s Highlandtown neighborhood have been traveling to the island for the past three summers to help residents rebuild after hurricanes Irma and Maria.

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Volunteers from Breath of God Lutheran Church help Puerto Rico recover from two large hurricanes in recent years. Credit: Breath of God Lutheran Church

Now, they’re planning another trip as nearly one-third of residents in the American territory remain in the dark in the wake of the deadly 6.4-magnitude quake.

Pastor Mark Parker said while their work might be more extensive this time around, their commitment to the people of Puerto Rico remains the same.

“The sense of despair and hopelessness that that brings after having rebuilt is a familiar refrain from those friends,” said Bishop William Gohl.

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The church is now recruiting close to 200 volunteers to join in its efforts this coming summer.

Volunteers from Breath of God Lutheran Church help Puerto Rico recover from two large hurricanes in recent years. Credit: Breath of God Lutheran Church

“Whether it be rebuilding some of the things we had done or put into place before or something completely different,” volunteer Victoria Broderick said.

The mission is intended to help re-establish and strengthen homes, businesses and places of worship.

“You see signs of that resilience that you’ve built into the physical infrastructure,” Parker said.

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Rachel Menitoff