Midlands Puerto Rican restaurant helps with hurricane relief overseas
COLUMBIA, S.C. (WACH) —
A local Midlands restaurant with ties to Puerto Rico is helping out with the relief back home.
La Isla Bonita, located off of Percival Road, will be taking donations within the next week to aid the devastating damage back in Puerto Rico.
"Every little bit counts," said Brendaliz Crespo-Gonzalez, who manages the restaurant. "To me, I want the island to know that, they're over there, but they're missed and they're being thought about by their family and friends over here."
The country has been devastated by Hurricane Maria since it hit its shores Wednesday. Ten people have been confirmed dead as a result of the storm. Countless homes have been destroyed.
Gonzalez's mother owns La Isla Bonita and they live here in the U.S., but Gonzalez says most of her family lives back home.
"We've been able to get in touch with my uncle," said Gonzalez. "He says my family is okay. They've lost everything, but they're okay."
Gonzalez says that they're official kickoff for donations was supposed to be next Saturday, but donations have already been coming in in droves. She says there are other local residents with ties to Puerto Rico and they want to help as much as they can.
"The families come in...and I feel heartbroken," Gonzalez said. "Because they haven't spoken to their mom. They haven't spoken to their sister. They haven't spoken to their kids. They can't get in contact with them, they're trying the best they can. I'm looking online, so they can put their family on the list to be contacted. Or emailing someone to go out to look for them."
The restaurant has partnered with the South Carolina Hispanic Leadership Council to gather donations. They have spoken with officials back in the country who say all monetary donations are welcome, along with specific items the island really needs.
La Isla Bonita's flyers include the following items:
- Bottled water
- Baby Wipes
- Hand sanitizer
- Canned foods
- Dry foods
- Baby formula
- Garbage bags
- Canned milk
- Canned or dry pet food
- Baby and adult pain relief medicine
- Stomach and diarrhea relief medicine
- Construction supplies
- First-aid kits
- Mosquito repellent, and more.
Gonzalez says, whatever is brought, now is the time to act.
"We have to help them," she said. "Because they need our help now more than ever."
For the complete list of needed items, as well as more information on how to donate, click here to visit La Isla Bonita's Facebook page.