OAKLAND, Calif. (KRON) – A nonprofit in Oakland is looking to rebuild after cars smashed into their building, destroying care packages for needy families. The group called “Homies Empowerment” was just getting ready to have a grand opening for its new care center before the crash.
The group is now left wondering what to do next after the center filled with donations and care packages was crashed into and ruined by possible street racers.
“It’s just a very big, emotional thing for all of us,” said Viviana Montano, the office manager of Homies Empowerment. “We’re very impacted by this. It’s a big loss.”
Montano says the building on 77th Avenue and MacArthur Boulevard was set to officially open on Thursday, just hours after the crash. It was the culmination of years of work to help those in need in East Oakland.
“Because of the accident, we have no access to the building and we do not have a timeframe when we will have access to the building,” Montana said. “We cannot deliver packages. We cannot give the clothing. We don’t have a site to work out of right now at the moment.”
Montano says speeding and street racing have been a problem in the area. The group is seeking help from the city or the police department in addressing the issue.
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Quick action and clean-up efforts from volunteers and other community members helped to lift some spirits, but thousands of dollars have been lost in those destroyed packages, including food, diapers, and clothing.
Plus, there are the repairs the building will need before reopening. Montano says Homies Empowerment is seeking donations on its website to help offset the costs.