As Hurricane Beryl heads for Jamaica, Jamaicans in Massachusetts watch and wait

As Hurricane Beryl heads for Jamaica, Jamaicans in Massachusetts watch and wait

As Hurricane Beryl heads for Jamaica, Jamaicans in Massachusetts watch and wait

BOSTON – With Jamaica in the path of Hurricane Beryl, Bostonians who grew up on the island are worried about family and friends back home. People like Ernie Campbell, owner of Boston’s Mi Hungry Jamaican restaurant, whose 80-year-old mother still lives in Jamaica.

“The best thing we sell is rice, beans, plantains and jerk chicken; it’s called El Clásico,” Campbell said.

Boston-based Ernie Campbell, owner of Jamaican Mi Hungry, worries about the impact of Hurricane Beryl on his family and friends in Jamaica.

CBS Boston

Jamaicans keep a close eye on Hurricane Beryl

For Campbell, this Jamaican comfort food tastes like home, and he’s thinking about his family more than ever now.

“We’re trying to do what we can for the family,” Campbell said. “There’s going to be a lot of flooding… the grocery store will be closed.”

Campbell is relying on friends in Jamaica to protect her loved one, a custom in this close-knit community. And people in Jamaica are getting creative, boarding up windows and using cars to build protective perimeters around homes as the weather advances. A Category 4 storm is approaching.

“People come together and help them. They put plywood over the big glass windows. People who have concrete houses take in other neighbors who just have a house made of boards and protect them,” Campbell said.

Campbell can do nothing but wait, anxiously anticipating the arrival of Hurricane Beryl.

“I know there will be a lot of hammering and nails over the next few weeks,” Campbell said.

How to help those affected by Hurricane Beryl

According to the US Census, there are approximately 35,000 Jamaicans living in Massachusetts. Members of the local community have pledged to support each other, both in Massachusetts and Jamaica. Among them is Denzil McKenzie, former honorary consul of Jamaica in Boston.

“What we’re doing is what we normally do. Jamaican organizations come together to provide help when it’s needed,” McKenzie said.

McKenzie said that while organizations in Jamaica are preparing, local agencies in Massachusetts are ready to respond. She said money may be the most effective way to proceed, since shipping supplies can be expensive and their arrival unpredictable.

“We have people who will be collecting medical supplies and food, but there is also a drive to raise money. We have endured hardships, but we also have ways to live with the hardships we have endured,” Mckenzie said.