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$1 million raised for Uvalde families affected by school shooting

Chelsea Torres, Edited by Christopher Lollis

Dec 17, 2022

The holiday season is supposed to be a joyous time of year and it is for many. But for the 21 Uvalde families that lost a child or parent, the holidays will feel a bit empty.

“Sometimes when you get by yourself and it's quiet, you think, are people not remembering?"

It's a heart wrenching worry, said by Faith Mata, the older sister of Tess Mata whose life was taken on May 24.

Today Faith realized, people do remember.

“I mean I don't know how else to explain it, that people still care what happened to the 21 lives in Uvalde," says Faith after her family was gifted a check by the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC).

LULAC raised over $1,000,000 dollars during their "Pray for Texas" campaign. That money was distributed in August, to families that were impacted from the Robb Elementary shooting.

Since then, LULAC National President Domingo Garcia says more donations continued to trickle in, raising nearly $500,000 dollars with an average of a $60 donation.

The $500,000 was divided up amongst all families impacted and distributed the weekend before Christmas. Alongside LULAC was Texas State Senator Roland Gutierrez D-Uvalde, speaking with families and ending his speech letting them know that their fight is not over.

“Being here in Uvalde, to me, that's not only the Christmas spirit, but it's also about helping those that are the neediest and these families have suffered a lot and and hopefully this can relieve some of that pain," says Garcia.

Many families have gone back to work and focus on carrying on, but as Faith says, living with the pain day by day can take a toll.

“My mom is a kindergarten teacher, so she went back into a classroom. So it's hard to think that my mom is putting herself into the same situation that my sister was once in," Faith says, who says this check will help had some relief for her parents, Veronica and Jerry.

At the moment, they're unsure what their Christmas plans look like, "it kind of feels a little sinful to celebrate when my sister is not here and my parents feel the exact same way, so I don't know yet."

The Mata's got into town Friday night after traveling to Washington D.C. to testify in Congress for gun reform. The family says it was intense and surprising how testifying went in front of the House Judiciary Committee. Faith says it was gut wrenching hearing opposing arguments, but hopes she was truly heard. She hopes the advocacy for gun reform continues and strengthens around the rest of the 21 families.