TUCSON, AZ — Marnel Martinez and her son knew they wanted to help when they saw damage in Texas following the state's historic winter storm.
"My son had basically said he had seen the news, and everything going on in Texas was really bothering him, and just asked what we could do to help," Marnel said.
She and her 19-year-old son Colin quickly formulated the idea to raise money and then drive to Texas to distribute the supplies. She shared their plan on social media, and donations started flowing in.
"Within a couple of days, we had over $3,000, and it just kept coming," Marnel said.
The majority of donations were from people in the Tucson community who wanted to help.
"It was awesome how generous people in Tucson were," she said.
In total, the pair raised $5,000 to buy food, diapers, and plumbing supplies. They had enough to fill their truck and a whole trailer.
They picked Odessa, Texas as the town they wanted to help and then began the nine-hour journey from Tucson. Once they arrived in Texas, they partnered with Christmas in Action to help distribute the supplies to those most in need.
"There just really weren't a lot of volunteers available, so we ended up unloading the truck, unloading the trailer, doing all that," Marnel said. "Then we stayed for a couple days to basically help distribute the food and diapers and plumbing supplies."
The experience left Marnel with a sense of community.
"It was so heartwarming to see how many people we could help," shesaid. "In a time when everything is so ugly in the world, it feels like it just brought everyone together."
Despite this, Marnel says there is still work to be done.
"They're still just so broken. When we left, there were still plenty of people without water, plenty of people without power."