WASHINGTON (WDVM) — In two weeks, D.C. restaurants El Techo and Benitos Place raised $3,000 to help thousands of Hondurans affected by Hurricanes Eta and Iota. Head bartender and native Honduran Kevin Banegas spearheaded the effort with his cucumber mojito; one dollar of every drink sold was donated to the cause. $1 is enough to fund one meal for a Honduran in need.
Banegas immigrated to the U.S. in 2014. “All my family is poor so I came to the U.S. to make a difference for my family and for me,” he said. Now, Banegas and his family are making a difference for thousands in his home country, distributing home-cooked meals to the displaced and hungry. Banegas’ family and friends regularly send him photos and videos.
“You can see all these children, six, four-years-old, all in line and trying to eat and it’s pretty sad to see,” he said. “Everybody don’t have anywhere to live so they live in the streets and it’s cold and they’re getting sick and they don’t have any money to buy medicine. Some people, if you have something you want to take care of it. It’s like, ‘I don’t want to leave my house,’ so they decide to stay in their houses and die instead of lose their houses.”
“We have already given away some meals that have helped an approximate — because of the work they’re doing over there in the United States — around 2,000 people,” said Honduran journalist Marlon Rodriguez Portillo.
Portillo says the government hasn’t helped much. Because of the pandemic, it’s strict on what it imports — even if it’s hurricane aid.
“It’s important that the government consider that there are a lot of necessities,” Portillo said. “With Hurricane Iota — all of the northern regions is flooded, and there’s going to be a lot more people who are going to be affected. There were 3 million people affected before Iota during [Hurricane] Eta.”
Although the fundraiser is ending, Banegas isn’t stopping any time soon. “$1,000 is money, but it’s not going to cover everything. If I don’t have help, I’m still going to do it,” he said. Donate to his GoFundMe here.