Irina Barneda/Staff Writer
Some people took quarantine as a time to wait-out the pandemic and hope for the best, however, a group of five FIU students had a different idea.
Sophomores Christopher Rodriguez, Elizabeth Baldor, Javier Vera, Mariaelena De La Cruz, and Adrian Pineiro established a non-profit organization that aims help the Miami community through donations and personal expenditure.
The students became inspired by seeing their grandparents’ struggles and those of other elderly citizens, and began working on the idea during the coronavirus peak in March.
They settled on “The Better Day Foundation” as a name, and while they have not yet filed for non-profit tax status, they report having made plans to do so in the near future.
During their first drive on March 20, the members packed boxes with soap, diapers, hand sanitizer, and tissue to be delivered to senior citizens with limited mobility.
“Now is when the community needs the most help,” psychology major Mariaelena De La Cruz said. “So, we took advantage of that.”
Member and biology major Elizabeth Baldor said that after that first drive, the group realized they could use leftover funds to give back to the community and do things that other people can’t do or won’t do.
De La Cruz said the foundation receives donations to buy products through GoFundMe. However, since they just started, many of the funds have come from themselves and their families.
Baldor said they gave away $320 worth of donations to the elderly homes and used $89 of their own and leftover donations to buy face masks for the 500 care packages of masks they distributed at Tropical Park.
The group decided to organize a mask drive at the Tropical Park coronavirus testing site where they handed out masks to any car that stopped by and wanted them.
“The people started coming and asking about the masks because they heard other people spread the word,” De La Cruz said. “We gave out like three hundred masks, and we still have a few more to give out.”
According to Baldor, the foundation’s goal is to help out wherever help is needed in the community, whether by helping the elderly, donating to the animal shelter, or distributing masks and sanitation products during Covid.
“We don’t want to be just about coronavirus, and we don’t want to be just about the animal shelter,” Biochemistry major Christopher Rodriguez said. “We want to be about everything and make people’s days better in general.”
Better Day Foundation is now planning a drive for the animal shelter.
“The owner was telling us that they thrive on donations because most of the food that they use is donations from people,” Psychology major Adrian Pineiro said.
De La Cruz said they need litter boxes for the cats and good quality food for the animals.
After doing the animal shelter drive, Better Day Foundation hopes to work with orphanages and is currently organizing a drive to get donations to purchase necessary baby items for pregnant and expecting mothers in need or living in poverty.
The good thing about Miami is that you can help in so many ways because it is densely populated. There are so many people here and so many survivors, De La Cruz said.
To learn more about the group, you can visit their Instagram @betterdayfoundation.