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Upstate restaurant helping family and friends in Puerto Rico

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GREENVILLE, S.C. (FOX Carolina) – People in Puerto Rico are still figuring out the damage to the country as they deal with widespread power outages from Hurricane Fiona.

The governor of Puerto Rico described the damage as “catastrophic.”

It is uncertain how long it will take to fully restore electricity and water.

1,500 miles away, the owner of Lechonera Latina in Greenville, Roger Duran, is watching the country where his friends and family live get hit by a Hurricane once again.

“Areas that I recognize, areas that I played in as I was a kid to see them covered in water, he said.” Even just all the asphalt, a lot of the asphalt was picked up by the Hurricane as well, so it’s just not a good feeling, obviously,” he said.

Duran hasn’t visited the island since 2019, instead staying in Greenville to work at his Puerto Rican restaurant off White Horse Road.

Since he can’t be there in person, the restaurant is starting to collect non-perishable food items, bottled water, and more to help his friends and family still in Puerto Rico.

“Something streamlined, something organized so that the community can come together and send something to their loved ones, to their friends in a bigger way than just one by one sending a few things at a time,” said Duran.

Over the last couple of days, Duran has been checking in on family and friends over social media and texts.

While FOX Carolina was with him, he spoke with his grandma Santa who lives in San Juan.

“Her husband, he’s diabetic, so you know it’s hard for people that are sick to get the necessary medicine, to have the necessary just ingredients to make the food that they need to survive. And also they tried coming over here before the Hurricane hit, and flights were $4,000,” he explained.

Almost exactly five years ago, Hurricane Maria also devastated Puerto Rico.

After that, Duran says some people moved away from the island. He added that he wouldn’t be surprised if the same thing happened again following this storm.

“The people that stay there, they’re strong people. They want to keep their roots, they want to keep the culture intact, and that’s what we need, and that’s what I’m trying to build here too,” said Duran.

Lechonera Latina will be taking those donations over the next couple of weeks.

You can drop donations off at their restaurant at 3799 White Horse Road or call them at (864) 349-1811 to arrange for donations to be picked up.

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