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Newark restaurant to raise money for Puerto Rican Hurricane Fiona relief effort through October

New Jersey residents who have loved ones living in Puerto Rico are working to get them the help they need days after Hurricane Fiona made landfall on the island.

News 12 Staff

Sep 30, 2022, 2:25 AM

Updated 628 days ago

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New Jersey residents who have loved ones living in Puerto Rico are working to get them the help they need days after Hurricane Fiona made landfall on the island.
Swahili Village, a restaurant in downtown Newark, held a fundraiser Thursday to benefit the people of Puerto Rico.
“The opportunity that we have here to get some help for the people in Puerto Rico is very touching for me,” says Swahili Village employee Lenni Perea.
Perea says many of his relatives, including his mother, live in Puerto Rico. They are trying to pick up the pieces of their lives following the storm.
“A lot of people around the community are not doing well, so I know that the government going there is helping. But they still need some help,” Perea says.
Prior to Fiona making landfall, President Joe Biden approved an emergency declaration authorizing FEMA to provide assistance for emergency measures. Biden then authorized a major disaster declaration for municipalities most impacted. After some criticism, individual assistance was approved for all municipalities.
“Quite a few of our employees here come from this island and they support family back home,” says Kevin Onyona, of Swahili Village. “We're just really out there trying to do a small part of what we can do to be able to help others. After all, we're a global community.”
Swahili Village has pledged to help by donating a portion of its proceeds to three organizations directly working to bring food, water, medical supplies, clothing and generators, as many are still without electricity.
“One the west side of the island, like Ponce, that side of the island did not get power back,” says Mohamed Dahsheh, of ICNA Relief.
Organizations like ICNA Relief have already been to Puerto Rico and plan to return in the coming weeks. They're one of the organizations benefiting from Swahili Village's fundraiser.
“Since we know the needs now and we went there and responded already, we know what we need to send them and then they can do the groundwork,” Dahsheh says.
As Floridians start the cleanup process post-Hurricane Ian, organizers at Thursday’s event want to ensure the people of Puerto Rico don't feel forgotten as they clean up after Hurricane Fiona.
The Swahili Village fundraiser was originally only scheduled to last through the weekend. But the organizers say they will continue to raise money for Puerto Rico through the month of October. Organizers have invited fellow restaurant owners to do the same.


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