SWEETWATER (CBSMiami) — A donated truck filled with supplies was bound for Gainesville Saturday night.
The shovels, machetes, boots and water inside will be given to the volunteers helping in the search for missing University of Florida student, and South Florida native, Christian Aguilar.
“We weren’t planning this, but we didn’t know we were going to get so much water and they need all the water out there they can get,” volunteer Michelle Lapiana said of the overwhelming response from the community. They decided to head to North Central Florida Saturday night instead of Sunday to distribute the much-needed supplies.
Home Depot Store #207 in Cutler Bay donated hundreds of bottles of water to fuel thirsty volunteers.
Many students are in Gainesville looking for the 18-year-old, while others remain in South Florida hoping to spread awareness locally.
“He’s a very sweet, very nice kid,” Aguilar’s former classmate Jenina Valdes said. “He got along with everyone. He graduated at the top of his class. This is very heartbreaking what’s going on.”
Valdes held a sign Saturday asking for donations. The collection box filled quickly. Some people gave a dollar, while others gave hundreds. The money came from students and strangers alike.
“There was one particular lady who came up to me and she came up to the box and she said this is my rent money, but I have to give this to you. I have to. And we just broke out in tears,” Martha Valdes explained. Valdes was among those driving the donations to Gainesville Saturday night.
The phrase “Help Find Chris” has become a mantra for students at Doral Academy. They put together a video in honor of the missing graduate.
They’re still reeling from the news their former classmate, Pedro Bravo, 18, has been charged with murder in the case.
“For this to happen, it shocked all of us,” Jenina Valdes said.
The plan is to continue accepting donations until the search is over.
You can drop them off at Sweetwater City Hall on Monday, October 1st.
Volunteers still need snacks and bug spray.
Donations made to Doral Academy will go to support Christian Aguilar’s family.
For more information on how to donate, visit www.helpfindchris.com.