A woman is raising money for a local family who was stranded out of the country since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.

Shenelle Pugh has put together a raffle for Kernel and Anne Garcia and their two children who went to visit family in the Philippines in February. Ms. Pugh is a co-worker of Mr. Garcia’s at the Benewah Community Hospital. Mr. Garcia has worked as a lab technician at BCH since 2017.

The family arrived in the Philippines just three days before the first wave of lockdowns impacted the U.S.

“The coronavirus had caused the lockdowns after they were there for three days,” Ms. Pugh said. “It has been a long process. He went through all of his paid time off and has had to go months without income.”

Ms. Pugh said that she has been raising money to help the Garcia family be able to pay for expenses such as car payments, insurance and their tickets to fly home.

“We want to be able to get him by until he has been back at work long enough to get his first paycheck,” Ms. Pugh said. “I’m sure he will have to quarantine when he gets back too so he may not be able to get back to work right away.”

“We want to make sure to get him what he needs to get him back started at work,” Ms. Pugh said.

She said that she has been surprised by the amount of community support the fundraising effort has received.

“My Facebook blew up after I posted about the raffle,” Ms. Pugh said. “I had people I didn’t know messaging me on Venmo wanting to buy tickets to the raffle.”

As of the time of this report, Ms. Pugh’s post has received 86 comments and 26 shares on Facebook and she said that so far she has raised around $2,000 for the Garcia Family. She hopes to get enough exposure to possibly double that number to even further help the Garcia Family.

The raffle costs $5 per ticket to enter or five tickets can be purchased for $20. The raffle will be for a few different items that were donated by local community members.

Those who enter can win a whole 4H pig, cut and wrapped, a custom coffee table, gift baskets, coffee gift cards, and more.

Residents who want to enter or just donate money to the fund can reach Ms. Pugh via direct message on Facebook or she asks people to comment directly on her post about the raffle.

As of the time of this report, Ms. Pugh said that the Garcia family has returned home, but were unavailable for comment at this time.

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