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Local Congressional Candidate raises money for Palm Desert businesses destroyed by fire

Several local businesses that were destroyed by a fire are receiving a helping hand from residents and Will Rollins, the Democratic Candidate for the 41st District. Rollins, hosted a fundraising event for the businesses affected, including Papa Dan's Pizza, and D'Coffee Bouteaque. His office in Palm Desert is right next door to the shopping center, so him and his team frequented the stores often.

“We love D'Coffee, we love Papa Dan's, and they're our neighbors," said Rollins. "And so really, today is not about politics, it's about community, because we've had some incredible supporters in the campaign who also want to help our neighbors. And we wanted to put something together that's going to help these business owners get back on their feet.”

Mona Rodriguez and her husband Nestor own the D'Coffee Bouteaque, both were welcomed into the campaign office in an emotional meeting.

“It was a beautiful day," said Mona, "I think it's one of the best things happened so far since the fire. It was, it was beautiful to see all of the support from the community.”

Mona says since the fire, they have been trying to pick up the pieces, but her biggest concern is her employees.

"Unfortunately everything is moving really slow," said Mona. "We have to be patient and wait for the insurance, but my workers are what I'm worried about. They need checks. They can't wait. They have bills to pay, they have kids, they need a lot of support.”

A CALFIRE investigation found the fire was started by a homeless woman, and although she lost everything, Mina says she harbors no anger in her heart.

"I don't hate this person. If she's watching me right now, I don't hate you. I don't, okay. But you did something bad and I know honestly, humans are capable of making mistakes in life, so I forgive you.”

Rollins, says now is the time to support and spread kindness to the Rodriguez family.

"We want to step up to the plate and remind everybody that our community can help these business owners rebuild," said Rollins. "And that's exactly what we're gonna do.”

Palm Desert Mayor Karina Quintanilla, was also in attendance. Her father used to work at Papa Dan's when she was in highschool.

"Small businesses are the heart and soul of a community, are more than just our buildings,” said the Mayor. "These are essential services. They're not just walls, they are people, they are businesses, they are our community, and stepping up to help them is the definition of community. We will be there to help them rebuild."

Mona says she's been overwhelmed by the support she's received from here, to friends and family back in Las Vegas.

"Thanks to the support of everybody else, I have more energy mentally," said Mona. "My husband and I decided we want to reopen again. And we want to build this beautiful place again and have the community coming back to see us again very soon.”

There are several Go-Fund Me's to help support these businesses:

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Tori King


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