CALEXICO — The community came out to help one of their own Saturday during a fundraiser for a family who lost their father and whose mother was badly injured during a mobile home fire in late December.
The event was organized by several people, some of who knew the family before the event and others that had never met them before the tragedy.
“Calexico is such a small community we always try to help our own,” co-organizer Alejo F. Cortez said. “We hope everyone can contribute as much as they can. We know times are hard, but every little bit helps.”
Raul Ojeda died in the Dec. 28 fire which engulfed his mobile home he shared with his wife and a family of four. The money raised will go toward offsetting funeral expenses and medical bills mounting as his wife continues to recover from severe injuries at University of California San Diego Medical Center.
Their five daughters all live outside of the Valley and are now trying to find a way to cope with the loss.
“The situation they’re in is just horrible. We’re all good friends, and we just want to help out,” Fernando Ayon said.
Alternative indie-rock band The Companies donated their time to come to the event from Ontario and play in support of the family.
Four other music acts including Lupe “Mastermind” Chavarin, Mario Eduardo Espinoza, Guillermo Cital and Latin Fuze also donated performances, and Los Cabos Seafood Catering donated the space Saturday.
“I didn’t know they’d make such an effort to come here,” said Lili Ana Higbee, one of the Ojeda’s daughters. “If you’re from Calexico, you’re pretty much friends and family. That’s the way it works.”
Photos of her parents were displayed at the family-friendly event, and she was visibly moved as she recalled happier times with her parents.
Fundraiser co-organizer Karla Flores didn’t directly know the family before Saturday but said it’s natural to help others.
“I have a lot of problems of my own, but doing this, putting a smile on someone’s face, makes my day. Our community is very close, and this will show our community that together we can make a difference in other people’s lives,” she said. “It’s important for people to show they’re not alone. You never know when it’s going to happen to you.”
Those who would like to donate to the family but couldn’t come Saturday can send an email to email@example.com for information on the PayPal account set up to accept donations.
The family of four also displaced in the fire has two children in the Calexico Unified School District. Call Hortencia Armendariz with the Calexico Unified Family Resource Center at 760-768-3905 for information on how to assist.
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