SPOKANE, Wash. – It has been just over a month since Hurricane Maria tore through Puerto Rico.
Seventy five percent of island's power is still not on and many Puerto Ricans are struggling to get clean water. It is a devastating situation and people are rallying around the people of Puerto Rico, including one local chef.
Jeremy Hansen leaves for the island Sunday to help cook hot meals for the victims of Hurricane Maria.
Hansen knows a hot meal can go a long way and it can give a person comfort and hope. He wanted to be a part of bringing that to the people in Puerto Rico. On Friday night, he brought some comfort to some locals who are supporting his cause. The Washington Cracker Building in Downtown Spokane was filled with laughter and good conversation as people shared a meal.
"The idea is just to dig in with your hands and eat, eat, eat, fill yourself up," Hansen said.
Hansen and cooks from his two restaurants put together a Puerto Rican style beef steak dinner. It is one last meal to fundraise for his volunteer trip to Puerto Rico. He will spend the month of November cooking meals for those affected by the hurricane.
“Watching it and seeing what's going on is pretty heartbreaking," he said.
The money raised from the dinner will go to his expenses on the trip, but most of it will go to World Central Kitchen, the organization Hansen will be working with in Puerto Rico. It is a network of chefs and volunteers who prepare hot meals after natural disasters and help in other relief efforts.
"The least I can do is go down and help cook with my skill that I have so that's the idea just to be a part of the relief efforts," Hansen said.
As of 9:00 p.m. Friday, checks were still coming in so we do not have an exact number for how much money was raised, but they expect anywhere between $16,000 to $18,000 was raised locally for the relief efforts in Puerto Rico.