Located right in the heart of Old San Juan is The Poet’s Passage: a gift shop, poetry lounge, and café. A “living museum” where poetry, local art, music, and lots of hugs are shared. I was first introduced to this magical place and it’s owner, Lady Lee Andrews during a “Tuesday Open Mic Night.” I could not help but notice the empty cafe. Lady explained it had been closed since Hurricane Maria, which was a year ago. My husband and I were devastated and felt the need to help.
Located only a few blocks away from our new home, we realized the importance of this gem to the local community and the rest of the world. After viewing the damaged roof and a huge amount of debt left behind by previous tenants, we immediately took action.
With a substantial amount of tax debt, over $10,000 needed for the electric bill, $4,000 for the roof, and $2,500 needed for the water bill, we knew it would not be easy…
We had a handsome goal of $25,000, so we decided to be extremely resourceful. As a previous owner of my own bakery in Miami, Amir’s Treasures, I prayed that I could make a difference “one cupcake at a time.” I also started a Go Fund Me account to assist with baking supplies.
Because of my husband’s business relationships, we reached out to the growing Crypto Community here in Puerto Rico. We were able to start a chapter of Crypto Monday’s here in San Juan through his company Liquex. “Crypto Monday’s is an initiative launched in New York City in January 2018 by Crypto Oracle. It is about building local communities of like-minded people, who are passionate about Crypto, gathering to share their views and network with the goal of strengthening their local Crypto communities.”
By hosting a new weekly event along side the pre-existing “Tuesday Open Mic Night,” we thought we would be able to raise the money in no time through donations, sponsorships, cafe profits, and gift shop sales. We wanted to show the positive power of our Crypto community and do something impactful.
I am extremely grateful for every dollar that was donated to help. I am even more excited to share that both the light bill and water bill have been paid! Plus I can proudly say I learned how to make delicious pastelillos. The journey is not over just yet but we are hopeful that a major blessing is on its way.
This has been an incredible experience for me personally as this same time last year I was only able to ship clothing and water to those affected by Hurricane Maria. Although it breaks my heart to still see people affected by the aftermath, I am grateful to be given the chance to physically be here to help. “L-O-V-E is the Message” I would start my baking at the café with this song and a smile as I learned the true meaning of “Puerto Rico Se Levanta.”
First I wanna thank my Momma! Lol
No, really… I know it may seem tasteless (and maybe almost impossible) to list everyone that contributed but I want to start with my Mom for encouraging me every single day. Funds collected on Go Fund Me from her and some dope friends from the USA: Adrienne Munroe Kate Harvey Depaola Garvin Gray
Each and every soul that walked through those doors and bought coffee, cookies, pastelillos, cupcakes, mac & cheese, poetry & art.
Our awesome Puerto Rican baristas: Kimi and Yari!!! And newbie to the island, James, our talented American chef.
Our weekly beverage sponsor: Warren Bailey of astral9.io
Our panel participants for Crypto Monday’s: Derek Hansen, Stephen Lupsha, Adam Krim, Angel Bermudez, James Shiller, Allison Kern, Ben Nguyen Tangle, Giovanni Mendez, and Francisco Laboy.
Our phenomenal Crypto telegram group
Everyone that shared, loved, liked my posts about the fundraiser
Brock Pierce for his generous donations and continuous patronage & support via social media
Team Liquex for the Live Stream of all our panels
Those who secretly visited our donations jar & dropped $20’s $50’s $100’s and $1’s (even the jingles…yes they add up!!!!)
Videographer, Fernando Cuervas for capturing and editing footage from our events
Mark, a man who came in EVERY day we were open for a double espresso and oatmeal raisin cookie!
The incredibly loving community of Viejo San Juan
Ben Nguyen Tangle’s gift of a brand new solar panel
Anthony Delgado for including The Poet’s Passage as a destination during Disrupt Week Puerto Rico
Tourists from across the globe that stopped in and encouraged me to keep the faith!
The staff from The Poet’s Passage
Lady Lee Andrews for allowing us to share her story and use her venue
And last but not least… my husband, Pedro Rivera and son Prince Amir as this past month and a half was a rollercoaster!!!!!