People Taking Action: Local restaurant works to help hurricane ravaged Puerto Rico

Posted at 6:10 PM, Oct 10, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-10 18:10:11-04

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - At the De Rican Chef Restaurant in Virginia Beach, they take great pride in serving up the tastes of Puerto Rico. And now that the island needs help after being ravaged by Hurricane Maria, the restaurant has been taking action over the past few days asking the community to help.

Restaurant co-owner Raquel Rivera was impressed with how people responded. "The community response - pretty good! Everybody, not only Puerto Rican, not only Hispanic, everybody!"

They were able to load up seven containers near their Holland Road restaurant. Inside were cases of water and other items donated by concerned customers and others who wanted to help out.

"People are like bringing stuff like pallets and clothing and food and EpiPens - everything!"Rivera said.

But now a new challenge: They've got to get all the donated items to Puerto Rico and the shipping cost for all the containers is around 50-thousand dollars. That's a big challenge to raise that money, but Raquel says the images from Puerto Rico are reminding her why it's so important to act.

"When you see they don't have anything, no water, no power, not even the grass is there," she said. "No trees, no fruit, no animals you know? Sad."

Growing up in Puerto Rico, Raquel knows what it's like; she's experienced the wrath of a hurricane first hand.

"And I saw a couch flying, trucks on top of the other one. I was holding kid in the bathroom," she said.

For all she and her husband are doing, News 3 presented her with a People Taking Action award, along with a $300 Visa gift card from our community partner Southern Bank.

Raquel was very grateful and hopes everyone hears her plea.

"OK, I want everybody listening to us: Help us make this happen to take these containers to Puerto Rico," Rivera said. "Make sure we take it to the people."

If you want to help take action, the restaurant has established a GoFundMe page. You can find it on the restaurant's Facebook page or click below.