Ecuadorians in Lubbock Come Together to Aid in Recovery After Ecuador’s Earthquake

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Since the 7.8 magnitude earthquake which rocked Ecuador on April 16, Ecuadorians in Lubbock have come together looking to send aid to their home country.  Many of those Ecuadorians attend Texas Tech and several of them gathered with other students at the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center Monday to sell baked goods. 

The students there explained this fundraiser was the first of several they will be having to further their goal of raising $40,000.  They plan to donate that money to Lubbock non-profit Breedlove Foods to cover the cost of a second shipment of one million servings of Breedlove’s high-protein dehydrated foods.

Breedlove used their reserve funds to send the first shipment of one million servings which was mailed out Tuesday morning. That shipment should arrive in around three weeks, but the students at Texas Tech said that  with the devastation in Ecuador after the Earthquake, many people there will need assistance with food long after the initial shipments of aid have been used. 

Ecuador is undergoing a national period of mourning in response to the devastating losses after the quake. The Ecuadorian government announced that the death toll is well over 600 people and that over 12,000 people are reported injured.  With highways, homes, and businesses destroyed in the areas impacted by the earthquake, it may take a long time to restore a sense of normalcy for the people living there.

For Cynthia Reinoso-Webb, a graduate student at TTUHSC who was born in Ibarra, Ecuador,  seeing the devastation from afar has motivated her to pour her energy into fundraising. 

She explained that her brother was in one of the areas impacted by the quake and that it was tough because she couldn’t reach him initially after the quake. Her family is now safe, but she said her brother has been returning to impacted areas with big shipments of aid for the people there. 

“The images started to come out about all the destruction and everything that was happening in Ecuador and that was our concern, that so many people were effected and the death toll kept increasing,” Reinoso-Webb explained. “Those were my first thoughts basically, what does this mean to our people?”

Caren Ayala, a TTU Agribusiness student, also from Ecuador,  was overwhelmed with concern after the earthquake as well. 

“It’s the worst tragedy that’s happened to Ecuador in 70 years, so for my husband and I it was thoroughly heart breaking, seeing pictures, seeing videos about what is happening in Ecuador right now,” Ayala said.

Both Ayala’s and Reinoso-Webb’s families are safe now, they live in the highlands away from the most affected areas. But they know many other Ecuadorians are still worried about their safety. 

“Many people are still living on the streets, they’re living in parks, they are not able to go back to their houses, they are displaced,” Reinoso-Webb said. 

Unfortunately, it is too difficult to send food or clothing in large amounts to Ecuador for these students, so they’re turning to Lubbock’s own Breedlove Foods to make the donation happen. Even as stories about Ecuador fade from the top news headlines, these Ecuadorian students want to make sure people in Lubbock don’t forget that the people in their home country still need support. 

“Everything goes out of the news and there’s not a lot of long term help,” Reinoso-Webb said. “And that is what we’re trying to do is we’re trying to send this shipment of food that is nutritionally balanced food so we can cover the long term needs of the community.”

The students have much more planned in the way of fundraising, they will be having a fundraiser on May 5 at the Panda Express at University and Marsha Sharp as well as a large concert coming up later on in May. 

“Being so far away from our country, we think and we feel that we have to do something, there is no option,” Ayala said. “Seeing these kind of things happening to your country, you feel the obligation, we need to do something to at least give all these people back their faith in humanity.”

They welcome help from anyone who would like to help donate or volunteer at fundraising events. 
Any business or individuals who would like to help them out in their efforts should reach out to Cynthia at cynthia.r.webb@gmail.com .

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