Puerto Rico hurricane relief

Marina Boyle, Staff writer

The Spanish Club, Caribbean Club and Mercyhurst International Student Organization., along with the department of World Languages and Cultures, will host a fundraiser for Puerto Rico hurricane relief at Bourbon Barrel on Nov. 30.

All proceeds will go to the Hispanic Federation/UNIDOS program for disaster relief in Puerto Rico. The event will run from 5 to 9 p.m and will feature a lineup of celebrity bartenders from Mercyhurst University.

This event is a collaborative effort by many clubs and organizations on campus to alleviate some of the difficulties faced by those in Puerto Rico at the moment, following the fierce hurricane that struck in September.

Brittany Warren, president of the International Students’ Organization, said that “it is very satisfying when RSCOs can collaborate on a common goal of humanitarian relief. So often, we are separated by our differences. However, Spanish Club’s Fundraiser provides a great example of the power of collaboration.”
Tickets are $5 at the door, though of course all are welcome to contribute more as a donation to this cause. Students do not have to be 21 years of age to attend, and all are more than welcome.

Kayla Frost, a native of Barbados and the president of the Spanish Club, which is spearheading the event, has many reasons to get involved.

“Because I am from the Caribbean, I know the impact a hurricane can have as I have experienced quite a few of them,” she said. “It is difficult to bounce back because most of the time the islands don’t have the economic resources needed. Although Puerto Rico is a part of the United States, it seems like they are not doing much for the island, as many are still without electricity months later. I also have quite a few friends that live there, and I can’t imagine how difficult it must be to be without power for such an extended period of time.”

Wanting to do something to help, Kayla collaborated with Spanish professors Alice Edwards, Ph.D., and Karen Williams, Ph.D.

Together, they came up with a plan for the fundraiser, which now involves participants from many areas of Mercyhurst.

Familiar faces will include head basketball coach Joe Spano, economics professor Juan Argaez, Jenell Patton of Campus Ministry, retired English professor Barry McAndrew, Rhonda Blount of Parkhurst, and others. They will be the celebrity bartenders for the evening, and the event will include drinks, light snacks and music from Julio Quezada and Mambo. There will also be a basket raffle and a performance from Puerto Rican DJ Eddie Ocasio.

The money raised will be going to the Hispanic Heritage Foundation, which has been working to help the island meet its needs. This will include the funding of rebuilding, housing supplies, and aid in restoring power.

Edwards said she hopes the event will provide relief to the islanders.

“We’ve had students from Puerto Rico here in the past,” said Edwards. “It is a Spanish-speaking part of this country, so naturally it is important to us. The situation there is so incredibly dire and the response thus far seems to have been inadequate. That is why we’re getting involved.”