A local couple who owns a Lebanese cafe in downtown Utica are giving half of their restaurant earnings on Saturday to victims of Tuesday's massive explosion in Beirut.

Zeina's Cafe owners, Albert and Layla Zeina are Lebanese immigrants with family and friends that live in Lebanon and work in Beirut. On Saturday, August 8th, 50 percent of their sales will go to the Red Cross of Lebanon to help in the recovery and treatment of those affected by the blast.

On Tuesday, a massive explosion struck a port in Lebanon’s capital of Beirut causing well over 100 deaths, thousands of injuries, and over 300,000 destroyed homes, Albert Zeina said. "The disaster hit with an economy in a free fall, rising food prices and the coronavirus pandemic."

"People are dying in the street," he said, speaking on WIBX's Keeler in the Morning program. "The hospital nearby got destroyed...it's unbelievable," he added.

People wishing to support the victims can do so in two ways. First, they can simply patronize Zeina’s Café located on Varick Street in Utica on Saturday, August 8, from 9 a.m. until 8 p.m.. The Zeinas will make sure the funds go directly to the Red Cross. People can also donate directly to a credible organization that provides aid and support in Lebanon.

As of Friday afternoon, the death toll grew to 154 people with thousands more injured and people still being discovered in the rubble. Four more bodies were discovered on Friday.

Zeina's Cafe is located at 607 Varick Street in Utica.


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