Government / Politics

Baja Night to raise funds for home-building effort

"Baja Challenge" Team Leader, Mirian Martinez draws support and volunteer team members at La Catrina Saturday.

Hollister resident Mirian Martinez is gearing up for another trip to Tecate, Mexico for the "Baja Challenge" and has organized a fundraising event to help support the annual home-building effort. Baja Night is an event featuring dancing and a raffle at La Catrina Mexican Grill in downtown Hollister. It will be from 9 p.m. to midnight on Saturday, Aug. 6, with a cover charge of $10 per person.

Martinez explained, "We have been collecting items and gift cards from around town and will be raffling them off during the night." Raffle tickets will be $3. 

The Baja Challenge is a huge group effort of volunteers to help build homes for Tecate residents. Martinez is an engineer and a graduate of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. 

"I have been a part of this annual event for quite some time now (this will be my eighth year) and I am inviting you all to join me on helping build hope and a home for one more family this year!" said Martinez, an engineer and graduate of San Benito High School and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. "This will be my second year as a team leader and I would be thrilled to have you join the team. I am VERY excited for this year as I have worked diligently since last year on networking in my community to gain more support. Please join me so that we can help one more family be out of the cold weather this winter. It may not be much, but little by little we can make a difference." 

This year, Martinez said her parents will be joining her for the first time. The fundraiser is an opportunity to help Martinez earn enough to make the trip and represent San Benito County in this construction project, helping our neighbors to the south.

Martinez sent in some answers a few questions about the day of construction:  

Who: A team of people from all over California and some that live in Tijuana 
What: Build a 16 by 22 foot home in 12 hours (similar to Habitat for Humanity)
When: Oct. 1, 2016
Where: Tecate, Mexico (about 20 minutes across the border, adjacent to Tijuana)
Why: To help build a home for a family in need (houses get awarded on a need basis)
How: We drive to bring donated items across the border so please plan to have that entire weekend booked. We normally leave on Friday around 4 p.m. and come back Sunday morning. (Itinerary will be sent to the people who are interested in being a part of the team) 
Cost: $5,500 (Includes materials for house and outhouse)

What volunteers need and how they can help:

  • You will need to have a passport to cross the border (Martinez suggests sending in paperwork now to avoid rush fees.)
  • Construction experience is not needed, but is welcomed and appreciated.
  • You need closed-toe shoes (Martinez suggests boots).
  • You need a can-do attitude and the desire to help others in need.

All the money collected on Baja Night from the cover charge and raffle will go toward the $5,500 Martinez needs to fundraise by mid-September. 

Martinez told BenitoLink, "If you cannot come to Mexico with us, you can still join the team and help fundraise (I did this for two years before I ever went to Mexico). We need all the help we can get for fundraising and I will be forever thankful!"

For more information, text Martinez at (831) 524-5329. 


Leslie David

Leslie David is a Bay Area independent reporter/producer and is a BenitoLink founding board member. She has produced for radio, television, newspaper and magazines in both California and Wyoming. She was with KRON-TV News in San Francisco as camera-woman, editor and field producer, where she won the Commonwealth Club's Thomas Storke Award with Linda Yee for their series on the Aids Epidemic. She started as a small market news reporter shooting her own 16mm film at KEYT-TV Santa Barbara. Leslie lives on a ranch with her family in San Benito County.