Two separate fundraisers Saturday for a young boy who survived a car crash last week that left his parents and three siblings dead raised more than $22,000 total. Eden Miranda, 9, remains in a hospital in Sacramento, where his condition has improved, said Lodi Police Chief Mark Helms at a press conference Monday.
The deaths of Eden’s family members — Luis Miranda Ochoa, 32, Viviana Rodriguez Salgado, 32, who was pregnant, and his siblings Irving Miranda, 12, Jose Luis Miranda, 5, and Stephanie Miranda, 4 — in a horrific car crash at Ham Lane and Vine Street on Oct. 22 left Lodians grieving and looking for ways to help.
Members of the community began setting up fundraisers within 24 hours of the collision in order to help pay funeral expenses for the deceased and to help support Eden going forward.
Kristy Trujillo and Felicia Rameriz raised $12,000 at a car wash Saturday at the IHOP restaurant on W. Kettleman Lane.
Trujillo said they were amazed by the turnout and help they got, from donations to people volunteering to wash cars to local eateries donating food for volunteers.
“We were speechless,” said Trujillo, who worked with 12-year-old Irving Miranda in Lodi Middle School’s after-school BRIDGE program.
Trujillo said the money was given to staff at Heritage Elementary School, where Jose, Luis and Eden attended, and locked in the school’s safe.
Heritage’s principal Christine Malandro said $10,000 will be used for a trust that is being established by the school district for Eden. The remaining $2,000 is being given directly to an uncle — a brother of Luis Miranda Ochoa — to help pay for expenses the family is incurring at this point, such as traveling to Sacramento to be by Eden’s bedside.
Malandro said the school district is waiting to create the trust until custody of Eden has been established by the Mexican Consulate in Sacramento. People who wish to donate to the fund established by the school can do so through the district.
A portion of the money in the trust will be set aside until Eden turns 18, she said.
St. Anne’s Catholic Church in Lodi raised $10,631 at a taco dinner fundraiser on Saturday night — where they served more than 800 dinners — that is also destined to go to help support Eden, said Donna Dominguez, St. Anne’s director of communications and community development.
The money collected at St. Anne’s will be donated to a trust fund for Eden being established by the Mexican Consulate in Sacramento. The Mexican Consulate is still working with a bank and lawyers to set up the trust, and hope to have it completed by tomorrow, said Marianna Tyler, spokeswoman for the Mexican Consulate in Sacramento.
The consulate has still not determined custody for Eden, she said, because the first priority is the child’s health.
An account set up by Viviana Rodriguez Salgado’s employer, Vaz Brothers Inc., at the Bank of Stockton contained $6,200 as of Friday, said Phil Vaz.
The Vaz Brothers account was set up to help pay shipping costs back to Mexico for the deceased and to support Eden, but as the Mexican Consulate is taking care of sending the bodies back to Mexico, the money will go to care for and support Eden, Vaz said.
Vaz said he plans to close the account next week, after money from upcoming fundraisers by community members has been deposited. The money from the account will be given to the Mexican Consulate for the trust fund they are setting up, he said.
Lodi Strong, a group formed on Facebook in the days after the tragedy, plans to put the money it earns from a community garage sale planned for this Saturday in the account started by Vaz Brothers.
The community garage sale will take place at St. Peter Lutheran Church at 2400 Oxford Way starting at 7:30 a.m. People can drop off items for the garage sale at Another Level Cross Fit at 1205 E. Vine St. from 5 to 11 a.m. and 4 to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, and from 5 to 11 a.m. and 4 to 6 p.m. on Friday. Items for the sale can also be dropped off at House of Coffees at 239 Lakewood Mall during regular business hours and at St. Peter Lutheran the morning of the event from 5 to 7 a.m.