Iowa City restaurant El Banditos is sponsoring a benefit to raise money for earthquake victims in the south-central Mexican state of Morelos. The benefit, which features live music and free pizza, will be held at The Mill on Sunday.
“All my staff hail from Morelos,” said Derek Perez, the owner of El Banditos. “Once I heard about the earthquake, and how hard hit the area was, I knew we’d want to do something and the faster the better.”
Much of Morelos was devastated by the magnitude 7.1 earthquake on Sept. 19, the epicenter of which was in the neighboring state of Puebla. As NPR reported, “Unlike [Mexico City] where thousands of volunteers are helping to rescue survivors, there is far less help in Morelos and far more dead.”
Perez said he had some understanding of the anxiety people from Morelos in Iowa City must be feeling.
“I was on a family vacation — which is different, obviously — when the tornado went through Iowa City [in 2006],” Perez recalled. “I was far away, I didn’t know what I could do and I felt like couldn’t do anything to help. I felt they were now in the same position. And I know enough people in Iowa City that I thought could do something to help. Marty [Christensen, the owner of The Mill] offered the space, when I contacted him.”
The event lasts from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Dave Moore and The Nic Arp Band are scheduled to perform. Admission is $10, but children under 13 get in for free.