Yay, Ray: Candy Store Owner Finally Gets Green Card and Social Security Benefits


After months of trying to revive his ailing business and cut through a thicket of bureaucratic red tape, Ray Alvarez has finally gotten a break. The Ray’s Candy Store owner, who was born in Turkey almost 80 years ago, has received his green card and Social Security benefits.

Bob Arihood at Neither More Nor Less reports that Alvarez yesterday completed the last of the forms necessary to complete his application process for receiving benefits, and that his application was approved by the Social Security Administration.

The year and a half that it took to earn the approval also saw Alvarez nearly lose the lease to his store, which has stood on Avenue A since 1974. Thanks to help from his neighbors and customers, who raised money for him with fundraisers and a clothing line, Alvarez has managed to pull through. He’s next planning to begin the process of becoming a U.S. citizen, and while that won’t guarantee his store will stay open, it will afford him certain basic luxuries available to those of us who were born here.