NJ Peruvians Mobilize in Huge Numbers to Help Flood Victims

Meeting of Peruvian community leaders (Photo via Reporte Hispano)

The floods currently plaguing Peru, which have swept along people, rocks and trees, homes and bridges, crops and animals – the country’s worst humanitarian tragedy in the last 20 years – have generated an enormous wave of solidarity in New Jersey’s Peruvian community.

Peruvian musicians, personalities, politicians, artists, restaurants, entrepreneurs and organizations of all types are holding events to collect as much money as possible to send to the victims.

Yesterday, the group Peruanos Unidos – “Peruvians United” – organized a marathon and food fair in the city of Perth Amboy. The event started at the Saint John Paul II Parish at 490 State St., and went from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. All proceeds will be sent to Peru.

On April 2, under the slogan “Unidos por Piura y Cañete” (“United for Piura and Cañete”), an event featuring music, performing artists and Peruvian food will be held at the Father English Bingo Hall, located at 435 Main St. in Paterson. Admission is free, and donations will be accepted. The event will start at 11 a.m. and end at 10 p.m.

On April 7, the Sowing Hope Foundation will celebrate a “Salsa Party,” a night of dancing, food and drinks, at the Noches de Colombia Restaurant, located at 25 Lake Ave. in Clifton. Organizers are expecting 200 people to be in attendance. The event starts at 7 p.m. Donation: $30.

On April 9, the Ofensiva PEX organization will hold the event “Peru: Peruvians Abroad Are with You” at 47 Godwin St. in Paterson from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. The gathering will feature performers, sport activities, dancing and Peruvian food. The group is projecting that they will collect $10,000. Donation: $15.

On Sunday, April 27, the Unidos por Perú – “United for Peru” – initiative has announced a “Help-a-thon”, which will feature performers, dance, gastronomy and raffles, to be held at the St. Gerard Majella Church, located at 501 West Broadway in Paterson, from 2:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.

In the first week of May, an important group of Peruvian performing artists from different genres and periods will stage a concert to benefit the victims of the floods in Peru, according to pop singer Víctor Barrientos.

“We are coordinating the venue where we will do the show, and it could be the Bingo Hall or Kennedy High School in Paterson,” said Barrientos, noting that all performers will be Peruvian. Artists from other countries who wish to contribute will perform for no pay.

For the time being, a number of Peruvian groups, including Peruvian Parade Inc., Club Ancash, five Lord of the Miracles brotherhoods from Paterson and Garfield, Young People of the Future of New Jersey, the Sowing Hope Foundation and Perth Amboy’s A Todo Perú met on Saturday to create a collective of organizations. They agreed that each group would contribute with a voluntary cash donation.

At press time, Paterson Deputy Mayor Carlos Vera, who is Peruvian, had called for a special meeting with local organizations on Thursday, April 23, at 7 p.m. at 46 Market St. in Paterson to coordinate support actions.

However small, no effort should be discounted. Last weekend, Paterson’s Delizioso Restaurant sold a traditional Peruvian dish called “causa peruana” for $5. All proceeds would be sent to the victims.

The Consulate General of Peru in Paterson announced its campaign #UnaSolaFuerza, or “one united force,” and has put a bank account – #226007091472 at Bank of America – at the disposal of compatriots and friends who wish to make donations.

All funds collected through the campaign will go to Peru’s Instituto Nacional de Defensa Civil (National Institute of Civil Defense, or INDECI), the entity in charge of coordinating disaster response within the Peruvian territory. It is expected that all or part of the funds collected will be distributed through this channel.

Gastronomic aid in Westchester

Meanwhile, Westchester Hispano reports that many local Peruvian chefs have chipped in by organizing gastronomic fundraisers in New York City and the Hudson Valley.  

“We cooks have shown that we have the power to help; everything was wholesome and transparent, and we have had more than 50 restaurants participating,” said José Luis Chávez, chef of New York City’s Mission Ceviche and author of the initiative Cocineros Unidos por el Perú, whose fundraiser took place on Wednesday, March 22.

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