A group of Poway moms teamed up Saturday to help families affected by a deadly crash in Mission Valley on Jan. 18. Two 15-year-old boys were killed and three other teenagers were hurt.
Volunteers cooked and sold Mexican food to help the victims’ families with the financial burden.
“We were devastated when we found out two of the children had passed away,” said Mayra Eligio, one of the mothers who organized Saturday’s fundraiser.
“Some of us don’t even know the other moms. Some of us don’t even know the other children. It’s just part of human nature. Helping our community,” she said.
The volunteer mothers fed people all day, serving pozole – a traditional Mexican stew – and tacos, delicious nourishment that is fulfilling hunger and feeding the soul of a community.
“I have teenage kids. My son goes to school with these kids. To see him in tears, seeing him cry every day, it breaks my heart,” Mayra Eligio said.
Mayra Eligio’s 15-year-old son Juan said he was still in shock over his friend’s death. He started hanging out with victim Gustavo Beltran, also 15, when they were just little kids.
“He would laugh and joke around. He would always laugh. His laugh was so funny. His smile, his eyes. Oh my God. His eyes were a unique color. He was a unique person,” Juan Eligio said.
Juan Eligio described going through a mix of emotions from disbelief to indescribable sadness.
“I said my prayers and I said I know you are in a better place now. Fly high. Just fly high,” he said while clearing his throat, fighting back emotion.
As loved ones grieve, the tragedy has brought neighbors together. Poway businesses and churches donated food for the fundraiser. The senior class at Poway High School donated $1,000.
“I was literally in tears and it’s amazing and beautiful because we all have it in our hearts to help and give back,” Mayra Eligio said.
Funeral service for Gustavo Beltran will be held Tuesday, Jan. 28. A GoFundMe page has been set up to help with expenses.