Queens residents will team up on Nov. 8 to hold a fundraiser that will benefit the victims of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico.
Queens Village resident Adolfo Steve Vazquez and Sal Espinoza, who is from Long Island City, founded Queenscapes, an Instagram account showcasing the best photos from across the borough, in 2015. The duo, which also organizes a variety of events including photography walks and art workshops, will host “Queens for Puerto Rico” in Jackson Heights on Wednesday.
Using their contacts in the arts community, the organizers asked local artists to donate a photograph or artwork to the cause. Vazquez said about 20 artists and photographers donated pieces for the fundraiser. Each photo will cost $25 and will depict scenes from Queens, Brooklyn and Puerto Rico.
“We still want to celebrate Queens as well as Puerto Rican culture,” he said.
The slow hurricane recovery process in Puerto Rico spurred Vazquez to start planning this event and the Queens Village resident said he wanted to encourage the Latino community in Queens to help. Vazquez, Espinosa and co-organizer Christian San Martín, an artist from Jackson Heights, teamed up to find a venue.
“This thing happened over a month ago but things are happening very slowly, so we figured we should do something,” he said.
He also wanted to focus on raising money for local grassroots organizations instead of larger organizations like UNICEF because Vazquez felt that the bureaucracy led to money and supplies taking longer to reach people in need.
“Queens for Puerto Rico” will take place at La Gloria, a restaurant at 86-13 Northern Blvd. in Jackson Heights, from 6 to 10 p.m.
The proceeds raised will go to ConPRmetidos, a nonprofit operating in San Juan, and items including toiletries, first aid kits, cleaning supplies, work gloves, hand sanitizer and canned goods will be donated to the Puerto Rican Family Institute.
There is a $10 minimum donation to enter and interested parties can either pay online at the ConPRmetidos website or at the door.
Local artists DJ Steph Cakes, DJ Dubbcity and Butchrock will provide music and local businesses will provide raffle items. For $5, attendees will receive items from Astoria Bookshop, Good Neighbor Queens, Lockwood Shop, Queens Community House, Hi Fi Records, Idlewild Magazine, Ditmars Vintage, Up-Stand Movement, The Brass Owl and Dutch Kills Klothing.
Astoria wine bar Ditmars Vintage, located at 23-14 Ditmars Blvd., will donate additional funds to the cause, Vazquez said. Every month, the owners donate 33 percent of their “Wine of the Month” sales to a specific cause. In November, every customer who purchases the wine of the month will also be donating to ConPRmetidos and The Puerto Rican Family Institute.
The wine bar will also collect donations on Nov. 29 from 6 to 9 p.m.,Vazquez said.