*THIS FUNDRAISER IS PUT ON BY CHELSEA GLASS, ANA CASTILLO, MOLLY JORDAN, JOAQUIN AVICH wih the help of MANY MANY amazing people here in Guatemala and is also associated with the fundraising happening by MERCEDES ESCOBAR.
We hope you're all doing well! My name is Chelsea Glass and I was born and raised in Sacramento. Those of you know who know me, know that I live in Guatemala 75% of the time and I love this country as if it were my own. Many of you also know my best friend, Ana Castillo, who runs The Heart of Travel with me, who is from Guatemala as well.
We started this fundraiser late Sunday night after the Volcán de Fuego erupted earleir that day. We had put an initial goal of 1k and were planning on purchashing supplies and volunteering our time yesterday as our way to contribute. However, as the minutes passed by the need for help grew and grew and luckily so did the support - mentally, physically, emotionally and monetarily. We are already blown away by the support we've received by people all over the world and the way the community here is working together to provide the much needed aid. We know this project is much bigger than what the two of us can do and we welcome all who want to join us and are grateful to those who already have. Molly Jordan, also from CA but who lives in Antigua and runs a coffeeshop and cultural center, has been donating all proceeds of sales to relief funds and is actively sharing this fundraiser with family and friends back home.
Many people have already donated clothing, food, water, personal care items and basic medical supplies. Our main focus right now is medicine that is harder to find and transport (though there is still need for simple medicines and we are purchasing some) such as insulin, nebulizers, syringes, oxygen tanks etc. We are also working alongside the firefighters who are the main ones on the ground to help them get special boots, head lamps and industrial goggles. We have also been told of a need for gas and are investigating the options of getting 500 gallons piped in near to the Antigua firestation for ambulance refill.
Ever hour things change as need grows and more donations come in so we are doing out best to stay as informed and up to date as possible and get the items most needed to the people in greatest need. As many of you know, over 60 people have died, hundreds are missing and thousands have been displaced and are taking home in temporary shelters.
We also want to remind people that the need is going to be ongoing. Next week the frenzy will calm and many people will resume to their normal lives (we get it, it's human nature) but that's not the case for those who've also lost their homes. In speaking with one of the lead firefighters, Melvin Mejia, late last night and he talked about how the hardest work is to come. Keeping people safe and healthy in the shelters and transitioning them into new homes is going to be an ongoining project. We are planning on setting aside a least 4k of what we raise and holding off on spending it until at least next week, maybe even further out, so that there is still some money on hand when many people have focused their efforts elsewhere.
We are keeping people updated on everything that's happening and on both IG and Facebook. Also, our friends Mercedes Escobar and Kike Cortes among with the many others, are raising money and helping us to define our strategies and make purchases and delivieries. Joaquin Avich and Benjamin Velasco have also been tremendous helps making contacts, pricing our items, picking things up and transporting goods. And yesterday we had a group of young adults from Guate at the house helping to organize supplies - thank you Martin Zamora for putting that together!
There are so so so many people here doing amazing things and so any of you abroad helping with donations that we are overwhelmed (in a good way). We are doing our best to respond to everyone and to thank everyone for their contributions but our main focus right now is taking action so please give us some time :)
I know a lot of you want to help from far away so if you donate we promise we will use the money as wisely as possible to purchase the items and provie the services most needed now, and in the weeks to come.
For those of you in Antigua if you have items there are multiple places taking donations such as Cafe El Viejo, Union Cafe, Cafe Condesa and others. Antigua Viva is posting information regularly on what items are needed along with places/ways you can volunteer your time. We will do our best to keep you all in the loop.
Thank you all in advance for your love and support!
HOW WE WILL USE FUNDS:
As you know, I (Chelsea) am originally from Sacramento, CA but I live in Guatemala where I work in tourism alongside one of my best friends, Ana, who is from here. We are raising money and we will personally be purchasing relief supplies over the next few weeks and delivering it to relief centers. People are in need of medicine, creams for burns, food, water, diapers, personal hygiene products as well as supplies and tools for the bomberos. We will be dropping stuff off daily at wherever we are told to go but our contacts who are on the front lines, be it in Antigua, Alotenango or Escuintla. We want to make sure items get to the right people without overwhelming an already chaotic shelter or relief center.