Skip to Content

Arnold School of Public Health


PASOs brings supplies and raises funds to help Latino families impacted by the flood

October 14, 2015

The below story was written by Sonia Gutierrez and is republished here from WLTX19.

For flood victims, help has come from many different directions but one family in the Midlands... hasn't been that lucky.

Cecilia Cabanillas and her 5 kids have been living in their flooded home without a working stove or microwave. The kids sleep on the floor with just blankets to cover them up and when it's to cold, they bundle up on their one mattress.

As for help, Cecilia says a couple of cops did stop by and ask is she needed anything. But she said no because she says she was embarrassed.

"It’s really emotional and stressful you know... for them (her kids) because whatever they had they lost" said Cabanillas.

Cecilia and her five kids saw their whole livelihood wash away, but they never left themselves.

"Right now, we kept some blankets on the side we'll put them on the floor or if not they’ll just go to my room and we’ll pretty much stay in the same room" said Cebanillas.

A room with a broken stove, a broken microwave but not a broken will to keep moving forward. "I had to buy a little parrillita, a little stove like an electric one and we’ve been using that" explained Cabanillas.

Using that, until she raises enough money to pay an electric bill and finally move in to a new place.

"I’m not the type of person who goes out and asks for help like I said cops came and asked if we needed something and I just said no".

A timid no, hiding how they are really living.

"I’m a very shy person so like I’m embarrassed or something or shy just don’t want to ask for anything so I just keep it to myself" when Cecilia finished saying that, her daughter said, "mommy don’t be shy".

Cecilia Lopez is a promotora with PASOs. She took the family some supplies after finding out their living conditions.

"It’s so sad to see those things because we have many many people, many many agencies who help the Latino people but where are these people? They are not here" said Lopez.

She says there's still a lot of work to be done, "we have food, we have everything maybe but some people need to pay rent ".

Even though the storm swept away most of their belongings, Cecilia says they'll find a way.

"For now just try to make a little bit more money doing construction and take it from there… slowly" said Cabanillas.

While we were out there Nelly Jolley who is the outreach coordinator for Hispanic families with Richland Two, showed up and said they along with PASOs would try to make sure the next steps for the Cabanillas family was a lot smoother.

They want to remind all families that regardless of language, help does exist and it shouldn’t be embarrassing to ask for it.

View the story here and donate to the group fund to help Latino families rebuild their lives after the flood.