SOCS Guatemala Relief Fund
UPDATE: There is still SO MUCH WORK to be done! The people need help. Carlos and I will continue helping these people for as long as they need it!
In the photo above, the police are loading the remains of 8 more people who were found, charred remains of only bones. These were found through the use of heavy equipment, rented by the families themselves, to dig through the tons of lahar left behind by the eruption.
Please, if you can, donate any little bit you have. I promise it will go directly to the people here in Guatemala.
Life in Guatemala has always been hard, but on June 3, 2018, it got infinitely harder for the people living near Volcan Fuego.
Located just outside Antigua, Guatemala and one of the most active volcanoes in Central America, Volcan Fuego erupted. It sent a massive smoke plume into the air in all directions and ash rained down more than 100 miles away. Lava shot into the air and down the sides and a new crater was blown through the side of the volcano.
About three hours after the event started, a river of molten lava and mud inundated the very small, poor village of El Rodeo in Escuintla. It happened so fast, most people didn't have time to react. Those that did escaped with burns, as the 1300-degree liquid moved through town.
At the same time, the ash plume gained in size and speed. It swept through other towns and its toxic gases instantly killed those in its path.
The destruction has been described as being similar to Pompeii. The death toll continues to rise, and many are still missing. Many of those that survived are hospitalized with burns and respiratory injuries. Everyone affected is in need. The greatest need is for toiletries, water, food, and medicine. However, these people are so poor they cannot afford these things, even on a regular day.
I am a school teacher living just 15 miles from the base of the volcano. I see its beauty every day. Yet, the destruction and damage I am now witnessing is beyond anyone's comprehension. The need is REAL for these gentle people. I want to help, but I can't do it alone.
Would you please help?
*** Many have asked exactly where the money will be going. My school is collecting anything and everything needed, so we'll be buying toiletries and necessities like soap, shampoo, deodorant, diapers, etc. and taking them to my school to be distributed to those who need them. Also, we'll be working directly with some doctors in Alotenango, providing them with specific medicines and supplies needed in one of the hardest hit areas; in fact, we're going tomorrow morning to buy the first round of medicine and supplies. Of course, we'll be updating here daily and including pictures. I can also supply receipts if requested. If you have any questions that I haven't answered, please feel free to email me.
***NECESSARY EDIT: I received an email from the Gofundme powers that be stating the following: "...we will need you to do is clarify the fact that you will be in charge of withdrawing these funds to your personal bank account first, and then who you will deliver the funds to outside of GoFundMe along with how exactly you will deliver these funds." in order for them to release the funds collected to me to be used to aide the people here. So here it is: I will be in charge of withdrawing these funds to my personal bank account first, then I will use them to purchase the above-mentioned things: toiletries, food, water, medicines, plus additional medical supplies or other supplies they may need. Once these things are purchased by ME, my husband and I will take them to the necessary agencies (i.e. my school - where they are collecting things, CONRED (like FEMA in the US), Derechos de Los Humanos, etc.) to be distributed to those in need. Of course, transparency will be a priority; if anyone has any questions about how the money is being spent, please ask and I will provide photos of the receipts/facturas.
What's needed now - and this is why I'm continuing to remind people about this catastrophe - is mental health services. Undoubtedly many have PTSD, as they witnessed the horror of their loved ones engulfed in the lava and overtaken by the pyroclastic flows - resulting in instant death - while running for their own lives. However, with treatment, PTSD can be lessened for some and completely avoided for others IF treatment is started soon after the root cause, in this case the eruption. The longer the wait to get treatment, the worse it will be (ask me how I know...).
I'd like to give some to an organization here called Antigua al Rescate ( https://www.facebook.com/rescateantigua/). They're looking to raise $1500 for mental health services before the end of the year. I don't have that much left, but what I do have left and what I collect now will be donated to them. Mental health care isn't really a thing here and what few providers there are are too pricey for these people to afford on their own.
Would you help me out? Skip your morning coffee, break open your piggy bank, pack your lunch instead of buying it...and donate; no amount is too small!
If you can't donate, would you please share this?
Thanks from the bottom of my heart.
Almost 6 months ago, Volcan Fuego began erupting and didn't stop until pyroclastic flows and dangerous fast-moving lahars had killed many (actual number is unknown because the lahar buried so many under meters - yes, meters! - of a mixture of ash, mud, and lava) and displaced many more.
Just yesterday I began thinking about the small amount left in the Gofundme. I thought to myself, I need to do something with it, but what? So imagine my surprise when I woke this morning to see images like this. It was as if God was telling me that there's still so many people affected by this force of nature that's continually reminding us of her presence. Simple houses are being built for the people who lost theirs in June because they have been kicked out of the shelters. People are going hungry because the aid has run out, yet they have no land to farm for their food. They are relying more and more on the generosity of groups and individuals for food and shelter for basic things like beans, rice, corn, and toilet paper yet much of the donations and money has run out. In just a few weeks, we'll celebrate a somber anniversary as we remember the events of 6 months ago.
We'd love it if we could help them.
As always, give if you can. Share if you can. Pray because you can.
Yet, 10 helmets only touch their need. They still need 40 more. They also need other gear, as their present gear is hand-me-downs and discarded equipment from departments in the States. Their boots are dry-rotted and literally falling apart and, in some cases, are four or five sizes too big (which presents a different type of safety issue). They have 4 coats for more than 20 men and women on duty during each shift. As Edwin, the bombero tour guide said, whoever gets to the equipment first gets the best; the others get what's left over, if at all.
Needless to say, the folks at the station were overcome with emotion, with some sharing tears of joy. It was my pleasure to bring these to those who risk their lives every day. If anyone knows of a fire department that would like to partner with the bomberos voluntarios of Antigua, Guatemala, please let me know.
We would like to purchase more helmets, if funds allow. But, they are expensive and are not the only supplies we're providing. At a cost of $55 each, you can see how the expense adds up. Can you spare a few dollars to put towards these?
As always, thank you for your support and the sharing of this. I am in awe of what you all have done!