Sara Valderrama, Learning and Development Manager, was in Ecuador celebrating her mother’s birthday when she felt the first tremor. Her friends told her not to worry. After all, minor earthquakes were common in Ecuador. But when the ground beneath them started to sway more violently, they knew something was wrong.
Thankfully, Sara and the 100 guests celebrating with her mother were able to make it from the fourth floor of their building out onto the street safely—and they were among the fortunate ones. “There were towns that were completely wiped out,” said Sara. “We were just lucky.”
Sara was able to return home to her family the day after the 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck, but after seeing the total destruction firsthand, she knew she wanted to help. Along with Darwin Mendoza in Receiving, a fellow Ecuadorian, Sara began a collection for those affected by the earthquake. She asked if they could put a collection box in the office, and they started receiving donations immediately.
“I announced [the collection] in the morning. By lunchtime some of my Marketing Associates had already gone to buy stuff,” said Sara.
Many of those affected have been left without homes, so the need for basic supplies in Ecuador has been great. Among the items collected were water, diapers, medical supplies, canned food and cleaning supplies.
“Everyone has been so nice and so supportive for a country they don’t even know, people they don’t even know. But that doesn’t surprise me at all,” said Sara. “They are just amazing.”