Employees at Ballard Puerto Rican restaurant wait for news and plan fundraiser

La Isla Restaurant.

SEATTLE — The local Puerto Rican community is keeping a close eye on the news as Maria makes its way through the island. 

Employees at La Isla Restaurant in Ballard say they’ve been following the storm and trying to get updates from their family when they can. Many say they’ve heard from their loved ones.

But for the few that haven’t, waiting is a horrible thing.

“That waiting is what gets you desperate,” La Isla General Manager Vincente Bravo says. “Not knowing what’s going on.”

Bravo says he’s started a hurricane relief fund that he’s posted to the restaurant’s Facebook page.  The restaurant plans to hold a silent auction featuring local celebrities in the coming weeks, with proceeds going to relief efforts in Puerto Rico.

At least a few employees hope to go to the island to help fix any damage the storm causes, he says.

“Being hands-on, right on the island,” says Bravo. “We’ll help as much as we can for as long as we can.”

Bravo says patrons have been vocal in their support for the island, asking what they can do to help.

“Love is being felt,” Bravo says. “Now it’s just a waiting game, to do as much as we can.”

Bravo says friends and family on the island are trying to keep a positive outlook, despite the storm.

“Puerto Ricans are capable to see the bright side and make a little fun of it so it’s not as hard,” Bravo says.