News of last Wednesday’s 6.2-magnitude earthquake that devastated the tiny central Italian mountain town of Amatrice shocked the world as stories rolled in of young victims and toppled buildings that have stood proud since the middle ages. But for one Fort Myers Beach business owner the stories are personal.
“I grew up about an hour from Amatrice,” said Frank Razzano, owner of Santini Plaza staple Francesco’s Deli. “I visit there every year, those are my people.”
Watching the footage coming from his homeland with tears in his eyes, Frank and his girlfriend, Francesco’s General Manager Susanne, decided they needed to help.
“For the month of September, I’ll have this collection jar on the counter where I’ll match any donations that come in – up to $1,000,” Razzano told us. “We can only take cash right now because we’re not sure where we’re going to send it – you have to be careful so the money goes directly to help the people – then we’re going to get a registered money order from a bank to help the people of Amatrice.”
The quake hit the 2,000-population town in the middle of the night on August 24, 2016, killing 290 people – many of them children – and displacing thousands from their homes.
“When quakes hit these mountain towns, the streets are very narrow and the buildings fall into the streets,” Razzano said. “This makes it even harder to rescue people.”
In Amatrice, which was getting ready for the popular ‘Spaghetti all’Amatriciana’ festival when the quake hit, the mayor has been quoted as saying ‘the town is no more’.
Frank wants to help as much as he can.
“This is who I am,” he said. “Doing this drive is very important to me. Please dig deep and help me make this a success.”
Francesco’s Deli is located in Santini Plaza near Skye’s. Frank opened the eatery 20 years ago and has grown to become something of a legend with his fresh, authentic ingredients and well-appointed Italian grocery. Stop in anytime Monday through Saturday between 10:30am and 8:30pm and help him in his crusade to aid the people of Amatrice.
Keri Hendry Weeg