Following the devastating earthquake that hit central Italy earlier this week, the Italian-American community has decided to pitch in, and raise fund to help out with the rescue efforts.
Many Italian-Americans have relatives in Italy, and since the earthquake struck, they have been watching the news with vigilance.
At the Italian Athletic Club in San Francisco, the flag flies at half-mast. On Tuesday, club members organized a spaghetti-and-meatball dinner. They donated the money raised during this event to the victims of the earthquake through the Italian embassy.
In Ohio, The Columbus Italian club has started a similar endeavor. They hope to raise thousands of dollars for the rescue effort.
Because food is such an important element of Italian-American culture, many restaurants have decided to raise money by selling Amatrice’s signature dish.
Amatrice is a small town in Italy which has suffered quite a lot due the this recent earthquake. Initial estimates said that nearly half the city had been destroyed during the catastrophe.
One restaurant in Greenwich Village which normally serves Neapolitan cuisine, will serve pasta all’Amatrice all throughout September. He will donate $4 for each serving of the traditional pasta dish.
Alfonso Piscante, chef at a San Diego restaurant located in Little Italy, will donate all of the money he receives for each plate.
There are now around 16 million people who identify as Italian-American. The largest Italian-American community is the state of New York, with nearly 3 million members. Next come the states of New Jersey, Pennsylvania and California.
Italian-American Community in the US
Italian immigrants started arriving in the United States at Ellis Island during the late 1800s. In the 1880s, there were about 300.000 Italians living in the US. In just one decade, their numbers doubled.
Most of them came to escaped the poverty back home. Unlike other immigrant groups, Italian-Americans often came for brief periods of time, and returned to Italy afterwards. In a sense, helping out their family living in the homeland is an Italian tradition.
Most Italian-American communities nowadays still maintain contact with their Italian relatives. Their traditions and heritage remain important to them even after several generations have passed.
The Italian-American Museum in Manhattan has set up a crowdfunding page. People can donate money at youcaring.com. All of the money will go to the Italian Government.
So far, 267 people have died as a result of the catastrophic 6.2-magnitude earthquake that hit Italy earlier this week. Hope is running out for survivors still trapped under the ruins.
Another 367 people are in the hospital, after suffering injuries during the catastrophe. Prime Minister Matteo Renzi has declared a state of emergency for the regions in question.
After the initial strike, nearly 900 aftershock waves continued to shake the already damaged region. Unfortunately, most of the buildings in the region are very old. Because they are so old, their structures are already quite fragile. Not only that, but the construction materials are not fit to withstand such a powerful quake.
The money raised by the Italian-American community will undoubtedly help. Unfortunately, as time is running out for the victims of the quake, most of it is probably going to be used to help survivors get back on their feet.
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