Bodega owners raise $35k to help rebuild Bronx shop destroyed by fire

PELHAM BAY, The Bronx (WABC) -- The owner of a bodega in the Bronx that was destroyed in a fire received $35,000 from fellow bodega owners on Sunday to help rebuild his shop.

The money was raised by the United Bodegas of America.

The group said on November 2, El Tropical Bodega & Deli, owned by Odalis Rodriguez, on East Tremont Avenue in Pelham Bay was destroyed by flames.

Our goal is to get Odalis back in business, back on his feet so he can put food on the table for his family. The UBA is a family of thousands of bodega owners that brings everyone together at a time of need. We stand to help every bodega at a time of need," UBA President Radhames Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez, a married father of two, said he thought his life savings was gone.

"This is amazing, my gratitude to my brothers and sisters behind the counters. My family is humbled by the generosity of so many that donated to my cause. It took me years of hard work to establish my business and in a few minutes, I lost it all. Today the UBA came through with $35,000 and now I can start rebuilding my bodega, thank you Bodegueros for saving my life", Rodriguez said.

On Sunday, Rodriguez and his family were presented with a check for the full amount.

"This is how we do it, this is how we come together for one another. We are proud of the UBA, we wasted no time and in less than 30 days we raised this money. The UBA went door to door and asked for donations to help a bodega brother and we did. The holidays are a symbol of love and joy, they bring out the best in people and today we witnessed that love with $35,000 for the Rodriguez family," UBA spokesman Fernando Mateo said.

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