Rally cry is to help EC student

Angelica Lara

The help continues to come from all directions for an Elmore City student who just weeks ago lost her mother – the third member of her family to die in just a handful of months.

Different communities in the area, schools and bank funds have for the last few weeks been banding together to provide whatever help they can to Angelica Lara, a senior at Elmore City-Pernell High School.

Next is a benefit being organized in nearby Maysville to raise money for Lara, who continues the painful process of recovering from the loss of her mother in early September.

That comes after the COVID-19 virus claimed the lives of both her father and sister late last year.

Angelica's aunt, Amanda Balbantin, says it's amazing to see this kind of support coming for her 17-year-old niece.

“The outpouring of support and generosity has been astounding,” Balbantin said. “We've had just about a little of everything.

“We're really glad to have so many people reach out. It's definitely unexpected. With the way the world is today it sure is nice to know so many good people are out there to lend a hand.

“I'm almost speechless.”

One of the many area residents pitching in to help Lara is Lorie Powell.

“She's been friends with my daughter since they were little, so I'm going to do whatever I can to help,” Powell said.

“The community is pulling together to do whatever we can to help. We're trying to round up as much as we can. We're all just trying to help.”

Lara's sister Liliana, who was disabled with respiratory problems, passed away from the COVID virus in November 2020.

Then in early December her father passed away after battling the virus for a few weeks. Both died before a COVID-19 vaccine was available.

The benefit for Lara is now scheduled to start at 11 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 23 at Toodles Tacos in Maysville, located at 503 Williams.

Lara does have family that includes her aunt, older brother and grandmother, but Powell is not alone in knowing that Lara needs as much help, financial or otherwise, as she can get.

“She can't afford her bills,” Powell said.

“Everything will from this will go to her for general expenses that could be for medical, a car payment, even gas to put in her car,” she said about Oct. 23 benefit.

“All proceeds go to this girl, so we're hoping to have a big turnout.”

The first of what could be many benefits to come was a special bank account set up by the principal at Lara's school in Elmore City.

That effort has already helped as enough money was donated to the account where the funeral for Lara's mother has been paid for, in addition to some helping with such senior year expenses as a letter jacket.

Accounts to accept donations for Lara have been established at Elmore City Bank, Pauls Valley National Bank and First United Bank.

“The surrounding schools have reached out to see what they can do to help,” Balbantin said.

“Even the high school in Wynnewood did a fundraiser for us. They're usually our rival, but they stepped up to help.”

During the upcoming benefit, Toodles Tacos will also feature vendors, auctions and an in-house poker run.

For more information about any funds or benefits for Lara, call Page at 405-207-7313, Toodles at 405-238-0925 or Lorie at 405-268-8002.

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