Lexington group hopes to help Puerto Rican culinary students

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LEXINGTON, Va. (WDBJ7) Lunch at the Southern Inn is literally more than a thousand miles from Puerto Rico. But when the restaurant’s owner saw the devastation, his mind turned to his kitchen.

“I was thinking about the possibility of seeing if we could offer some cooks jobs,” says George Huger, the owner of the Southern Inn.

Jobs for culinary students, whose education was blown to bits with everything else.

“They had a path," Huger says. "And now their life has really been changed and so it’s an opportunity for us to get them out of - let’s just say - a bad environment."

“He called me one day, about five - four weeks ago, and said he has this idea, would I help him develop it,” Jerry Nay says.

Nay has experience with disaster relief and refugee resettlement.

“It’s multifaceted," he explains. "It’s going to be about a two-year program, and as you can imagine, that’s going to require some money.”

And now, even as the plan is still coming together here, students are being interviewed in Puerto Rico.

“It has come together pretty quickly, and we’ve actually really brought things together in the last few weeks,” Huger says.

“It should help in a big way," according to Nay. "And I think one of the big ways it’s going to help is the psychological impact of Americans helping Americans, and reaching out with a hand up.”

So that, with the sort of training and experience they gain here, they might bring a recovered Puerto Rico its own Southern Inn.

If you want to help, you can send contributions to:
The Puerto Rican Evacuee Project
c/o Lexington Presbyterian Church
120 South Main Street
Lexington VA 24450

Or email Jerry Nay at PRE@JERRYNAY.US