New London Community Meal to Benefit Puerto Rico - NBC Connecticut

New London Community Meal to Benefit Puerto Rico

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    New London's community meal on Wednesday will be a Puerto Rican feast and money raised at the event will help feed hurricane victims in Puerto Rico.

    (Published Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017)

    A weekly community meal in New London is coming to the aid of those still suffering from the wrath of Hurricane Maria.

    Hundreds are expected to gather at Bennie Dover Jackson Middle School for an authentic Puerto Rican meal for just $5. All proceeds will go to a group called La Olla Común, which provides more than 100 meals a day to people affected by Maria in Puerto Rico, organizers said. 

    The group's name, La Olla Común, translates to 'The Community Pot' in English.

    Brigaid, an organization that puts chefs in New London school cafeterias, is teaming up with Chef Raquel Vázquez to create Wednesday's feast. 

    The menu includes pernil, rice with pigeon peas, potato salad, buttered carrots, flan and tropical juice.

    "We’re all very fortunate here. It’s tough to think there are other people out there who aren’t as fortunate and it gives us an opportunity to help," Dan Giusti, the head chef and founder of Brigaid, said. 

    Brigaid is donating all ingredients used for Wednesday’s dinner.

    "These are our co-workers, there are our friends, these are our families, our students. A lot of our students have family in Puerto Rico, so it’s the least we can do," Giusti said.

    Daisy Torres, director of bilingual, ESOL world language and parent engagement at New London Schools, said 24 students from Puerto Rico have enrolled in the district since Hurricane Maria caused extreme devastation and forced many residents to relocate.

    Fifty percent of the student population identifies as Latino from the Caribbean, according to Torres, and the majority are from Puerto Rico.

    "Without power, people don’t have refrigerators, they can’t sustain food for very long. So it is really important for them to have a hot meal. And every $5 donation people pay at our community dinner goes directly to a $5 meal on the island," Torres, who also has family in Puerto Rico, said.

    In addition to food, there will also be prizes for people who donate and a silent auction.

    The Community Meal to Benefit Puerto Rico is Wednesday, Nov. 15 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Bennie Dover Jackson Middle School.

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