SPRINGVILLE — In September, two powerful earthquakes rocked the Mexico City region, toppling buildings, leaving hundreds dead and thousands without basic necessities.
One Springville neighborhood went to work, collecting food and hygiene items for those in a continent away. Their donations were part of a larger Utah Valley and Utah County effort that resulted in 1 ½ tons of aid products shipped to Mexico.
Eliza Valenzuela, who helped organize the effort said the quake hit home for her because of the family connections she has in the area. Her mom has relatives living in Mexico City. “We do have family out there that felt the tremors,” she said. Thankfully, they have all been accounted for.
Shortly after the quake, Valenzuela heard from her cousin, Esteban Zapata, who had parents serving an LDS mission in the quake area. Zapata is a director at Estafeta, a company built on its direct shipping to Mexico service.
“When I heard about the earthquake I knew I had to help in some way,” Zapata said. The company was determined to fill as many trucks as they could spare with aid and head to Mexico. Zapata contacted Valenzuela and other friends and relatives to help solicit donations.
Valenzuela posted a list from Estafeta’s website on her neighborhood Facebook page and was overwhelmed by the response.
“I gave them two or three days worth of time and people showed up with bags and bags of pasta, tuna, bars of soap, everything from the list. I was very touched,” Valenzuela said. “I was just blown away by how people responded.
She said, “People didn’t have any personal connections to anyone out there. They had no reason to care. They didn’t have to think twice about it, but they did.”
Zapata said, “People in Utah are very kind and they want to help, if something happens, right away. We knew with their support we could make a little bit of difference.”
Estafeta had such a large response to the call for donations that they not only filled their trucks, but had to turn away donations.