Students from Montemorelos University clean up the home of Martha Rocha and her children after an electrical circuit sparked a fire burning almost everything in her home on Feb. 24, 2022, in the Maria Ancer Community. The university’s community management and student service have been coordinating efforts to provide basic needs such as food, household items, and soon will help in the rebuilding of the house. [Photo: Montemorelos University]

March 17, 2022 | Montemorelos, Nuevo Leon, Mexico | Laura Marrero and Inter-American Division News

When part of Martha Rocha’s home began to burn after an electrical short created flames inside her home last month, she and her three children were dining out with family members. When they returned, most of their belongings, including beds, kitchen appliances, furniture, clothes and more were completely consumed by the resulting fire.

Although the structure of the house survived, Rocha was desperate. She, along with her brother, inherited the house from her parents. The house is located in the Maria Ancer community, better known as Pancho Villa, not far from Adventist-run Montemorelos University.

Professor Oscar Castillo together with students from the school of music visit to assess logistics for the needed resources for basic needs. [Photo: Montemorelos University]

“She not only lost most of her material things but the way to earn money to feed her children,” said Nalda Hernández of Montemorelos University, who coordinates community management and vision of service among university students in nearby communities. “This has brought a lot of stress to Martha who has already been struggling with health issues like diabetes, hypertension and obesity.”

Hernández was contacted by community leaders who wanted to help. In addition, Montemorelos University students immediately assisted Rocha and her family with cleaning up the home and worked on procuring resources to assist her in resuming her way of earning money to support her family.

Students from health sciences and the school of music took to cleaning the house and clean up the few items that Rocha and her family were able to salvage. Faculty and staff joined the efforts to work on the logistics of needed funds to assist the family, explained Hernández.

Damaged home furnishings, appliances and household items sit outside of the home of Martha Rocha and her children. [Photo: Montemorelos University]

“We were able to put together basic needs like food while they moved to live with a family member nearby,” said Hernández.

In addition, professionals from the school of architecture in Montemorelos have begun evaluating and studying phases of rebuilding the home, especially the roof, university leaders said.

Members of the university church and community have already been taking in donated items, equipment and money, and have enlisted volunteers to assist in the home reconstruction.

Some of the items the family was able to salvage lie inside the structure of what’s left of the home. [Photo: Montemorelos University]

“As part of the support being offered to the Rocha family, the university reached out to the Family Care Center on campus to offer psychological support and provided tools to overcome the crisis they have gone through,” said Hernández. There are still financial resources and support needed for Rocha to re-establish her home and she can move forward with her family, she added. “This is the time to put the mission in action,” Hernández said.

Plans are underway to deliver beds, mattresses and financial assistance for the family. Community service coordinators hope to see the house rebuilt soon so the Rocha family can return to their home.

To learn more about the community outreach led by Montemorelos University in its surrounding communities, visit um.edu.mx

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