In September 2017, Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico. The island got utterly destroyed, and the Puerto Rican people were not ready for that catastrophic event. Among the things that got severely damaged, the food and beverage industry took a hard blow. But the island is resilient, and a massive spread of diverse, nonprofit organizations started reaching out communities with relief efforts.   “At the time I was in the states, but as soon as I could I took a plane to the island and started organizing fundraising events and relief efforts…” says Manolo Lopez the founder and curator of Cosa Nuestra, a nonprofit organization that (explain better what it does.)   Manolo Lopez serving hot food plates to communities affected by Hurricane Maria. (Pictured administered by the Mark E. Curry Family Foundation.)   “We are a group of young, local talented cooks, that want to share our Puerto Rican culture and heritage with our food,” Lopez said. Cosa Nuestra gave grants to those businesses that got affected and could not operate after the hurricane.   Lopez organized several campaigns throughout the island where a group of cooks, nurses, doctors, and government officials brought first aid assistance, warm food, and supplies to those in need. The island’s power grid was effectively wiped out, and for months the victims had no access to electricity and water.   A year after the humanitarian crisis, Puerto Rico has not fully recovered, and I believe we still have far to go. It is impressive how local organizations devoted to service took matters on their own hands and worked together to help local business reopen after the destructive path of Hurricane Maria. This is your opinion, and while okay, does not really fit in with the story about Lopez     Volunteers with Cosa Nuestra and Sociedad Criolla what is this traveled to Colombia, New York, and Mexico, to open pop-up kitchens to raise and collect money for the relief effort. Lopez’s idea helped thousands of Puerto Rican citizens and several restaurants.    Chef Gabriel Antunez is a local cook who worked side by side with Lopez’s initiative. “We are prepared 500 lunchboxes per weekend, and we distribute them through the most affected communities in the island. The idea is to bring them a hot meal, water, first aid and hope” Affirmed Antunez during a conversation about the relief efforts and the fundraising campaign.  Another organization that developed a network of kitchens that served hot plates to the whole island was World Central Kitchen, founded by of the famous Spanish chef and humanitarian Jose Andres.     The Cosa Nuestra Relief fund has established in San Juan. Lopez and his team are still working on giving exposure to the wonderful culinary traditions the island has to offer. As the island is not back at its 100%, both Sociedad Criolla and Lopez’s organization are working to help restore the local restaurant industry.          
Cosa Nuestra Collective “Sal Si Puedes” dinner in Colombia. February 16, 2018 (Picture was taken from La Cosa Nuestra Collective Facebook page) 

Manolo Lopez serving hot food plates to communities affected by Hurricane Maria. (Pictured was taken of the Mark E. Curry Family Foundation.)