The Americas High School student council coordinated a special event recently to do their part for the El Paso community after the August 3 shooting at the Cielo Vista Walmart.
About fifteen members of the student council catered lunch for Vitalant staff members at the non-profit organization’s offices. Vitalant provides blood and special services to patients; its main purpose is ensuring lifesaving blood is available when and where it is needed.
Lorraine Varela, Americas High School student activities director, said she and her students thought about the many people and entities that were involved and affected by the shooting, and wanted to help those who were working to save lives that day.
“Everybody is focused on the victims, but we thought about everyone else involved, like the employees who worked overtime trying to get those donations and process the blood,” Varela said.
Paulina Lujan, one of the students who helped spearhead the event, said the student council wanted to do their part for the community and didn’t want anyone who has served El Paso during the incident to go overlooked.
“The smile on the faces of these people tell us they know we’re thankful and I hope we get that momentum going for others in the community,” Lujan said.
The group also has been focusing on projects related to El Paso Strong.
She said in the aftermath they gathered to brainstorm ideas to give back to the community and created sub-committees to execute the projects. One of the committees invited the Americas student body to collect and paint positivity rocks, which they distributed at the memorial.
Another committee has designed a shirt, which they plan to sell and collect the proceeds to donate to the victim’s foundation.
“I’m proud of my kids for wanting to be a part of this,” Varela said. “Our tears are tears of joy but also of deep sorrow, but spreading positivity is our goal, and no matter the action, big or small, it makes a difference when you are out there trying to do good.”
The employees at Vitalant appreciated the meal, but the sentiment behind it more.
“I’m thankful for the students taking time out of their day to come here and feed us,” said Vitalant phlebotomist Ruby Ramirez, who was in training when news of the shooting broke. “It’s so sweet of them to come out and thank us.”