FRANKFORT, Ind. — Members of the Frankfort community are coming together to help support the families of eight residents who died last weekend in a car crash in Mexico.
Several local groups and businesses have teamed up to help fundraise. Organizers of the fundraising and donation efforts said the news of the wreck was haunting.
“It was tremendous, especially because the initial reports were reporting three then four losses, and then five,” described Esmeralda Cruz with Purdue Extension, one of the organizing groups. “And then we learned it was really eight people.”
Purdue Extension and the Learning Network of Clinton County teamed up to help become a donations hub. They also reached out to a local business to see if it could also help with fundraising efforts.
“We just know there are some things we can do and anticipate,” Cruz said. “And that’s why we feel it’s important to start raising some funds to give to these families.”
C&R Catering in downtown Frankfort is helping with a fundraiser Friday. The business is selling meals for $10, desserts for $5 and drinks for $2 during the event with all money going toward the victims’ families.
“It’s just something that we do, it’s God that says you need to help out,” C&R Catering owner Rodney Mounts said. “So we felt the urgency that we need to do what we can do at this point.”
Right now, Cruz said that urgency includes bringing loved ones back home.
“Some of our families want to bring the ashes of their loved ones back to the US,” Cruz said.
While some families want their loved one’s remains to stay in Mexico, Cruz said these fundraising efforts will help cover the cost of bringing victims’ remains home.
“The expenses, in terms of cremation and permits, to bring them back is not too overwhelming, but that’s only a very small part of the expenses the families are having to go through,” Cruz said.
The funds will help with funeral expenses and any other needs victims’ families may have.
“It’s going to take a lot of money to bring their families home,” Frankfort Chief of Police Scott Shoemaker said. “So anything will help.”
Chief Shoemaker said there is also still a push to find out what caused the crash.
“It’s very difficult to make contact with anybody in Mexico, but we will do whatever it takes to get some answers,” he said.
As donations have already begun trickling in, organizers said they are proud to see a community come together.
“When this occurred it wasn’t a matter of color or skin, ethnicity, or race, it was a matter of loss of eight community members,” Cruz said.
In addition to Friday’s fundraiser at C&R catering, the organizing groups are looking to do a garage sale as well. They plan to keep raising money for the next three to four weeks. They have also designed shirts to sell, which will read, “Frankfort 8, Ocho Strong.”
The Learning Network is also collecting donations online here.