At first glance, University Mall in Tampa appears to be just another place to shop and dine.

  • Displaced Puerto Rican families find hope in abandoned mall building
  • Tampa Underground helping Puerto Ricans find jobs, lodging, resources
  • Tampa Underground a hub for 200 different microchurches, ministries
  • Click here for more info on Tampa Underground

But you've probably missed what's hidden at the back of its parking structure – it’s the inconspicuous entrance to Tampa Underground, which has come to be a place of hope for Puerto Ricans affected by Hurricane Maria.

Tampa Underground is a hub for about 200 different microchurches and ministries.

Nancy Hernandez is the director of a ministry within the organization called Mujeres Restauradas Por Dios.

It was originally established as a Spanish-speaking ministry catering to women in need.

But now, Hernandez is turning her efforts towards helping displaced Puerto Ricans find jobs, lodging, and other assistance.

Her ministry has helped about 4,000 families since November 2017.

“The person that’s saying that Puerto Ricans are returning - they’re not. They’re here. They’re here and they’re in need,” Hernandez said.

The ministry is just one of several at Tampa Underground that are honing in on the Puerto Rico crisis.

“I’m really grateful for leaders like Nancy that feel really the love of God for people whose lives are totally decimated having to relocate like that to Tampa, and having a stirring to do something,” said Tampa Underground director Lucas Pulley.

Pulley said the organization is doing as much as possible to work alongside the leaders who are putting in all their energy to help those families by providing office space, meeting space, and other resources for them.

Hernandez said they need all the help they can get, because there’s still a lot of work to be done with the families.

If you would like to get involved with any of the existing groups and ministries helping Puerto Ricans, you are asked to email