Uvalde residents fundraise for massacre victims the old-fashioned way

Under the blazing Texas sun, Guadalupe Salazar marveled at family and friends all around her, cooking chicken and burgers on a flaming grill, pouring cups of homemade lemonade, and nearby pickup trucks at a pop-up “Car Wash and Plate Sale.” lathered the heart of the city.

All she could think about was the 21 families who each lost a loved one in Tuesday’s mass shooting at the local primary school here in Uvalde, and the 21 white envelopes she intended to stuff with cash from the event’s proceeds. to help them cover funeral expenses or other immediate needs.

“Hi Parents, I wanted to say that we are so speechless at what your family is going through and I wanted to show a little love and support for this tragedy,” Salazar wrote in a letter accompanying each donation. “My family and friends got together to help.”

In a small town with many deep-rooted traditions, this was the old-school way of giving back.

Two women in T-shirts with the inscription Uvalde are smiling in front of a white tent

MJ Salazar, left, and Sister Guadalupe Salazar, both from Uvalde, decided to cook burgers and chicken and run a car wash to raise funds for the families of the 19 children and two teachers who died on May 24, 2022 at the Robb Elementary School were killed.

(Kevin Rector / Los Angeles Times)

Salazar, an accountant from Uvalde, said three of her clients were directly affected by the shooting that killed 19 students and two teachers by an 18-year-old gunman at Robb Elementary School. A client, a close friend, lost her child.

After bringing her some homemade meals, Salazar said she realized she had to do more. So she called her family, including her sister MJ Salazar, who is also an accountant and consultant, and she got other family members and friends involved.

And as they set up their stores early Thursday morning, support poured in.

“We’ve been sold out since 7 a.m.,” said MJ Salazar. “When people should have had breakfast, they bought burgers.”

In the afternoon, one of the volunteers, eighth grader Jared Martinez, estimated he had washed about 40 cars.

“It’s all about helping families,” said the 14-year-old. “It was sad.”

Not all volunteers knew each other. New additions to the group included Betsy Gonzalez, who washed a car with her 10-year-old son Nahum, a fourth grader at Uvalde Dual Language Academy.

Gonzalez said her son was enrolled with Robb last year. She couldn’t help but wonder if he would have been in the classroom where the 19 kids his age would have been killed had he not been promoted. The thought had stuck in her head since the massacre.

Upon seeing the car wash and realizing its purpose, she asked if she could help.

“I told them I don’t have any money to help or buy anything, but I can help,” Gonzalez said.

Others were also happy to contribute, even if it was just a dinner.

Jesus Castillo finished work Thursday at a local gear company, watched the group cook and went home to get his wife Rachel and daughter Teresa to come back and get burgers with him.

“It’s the right thing,” Rachel Castillo said. “We have to help each other”

Guadalupe Salazar said she hopes the money, small as it is, could give some families some extra breathing room to mourn.

MJ Salazar said washing the car and selling records gave her purpose after a rough few days.

She has struggled with nightmares since the shooting, trying to make sense of the failure of the nation’s leaders to keep preventing such tragedies from happening.

They should do something, she thought. Everyone should do something, she thought. She should do something, she realized.

So she did.

She called family and friends, drove to the Costco in San Antonio for supplies, and set up tables around town—trusting others in the community would do their part, too.

“At this point,” she said, “actions speak louder than words.”

https://www.latimes.com/world-nation/story/2022-05-26/actions-speak-louder-uvalde-residents-fundraise-for-victims-the-old-fashioned-way Uvalde residents fundraise for massacre victims the old-fashioned way

Alley Einstein

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