ESPAÑOLA, N.M. (KRQE) – Despite some setbacks due to the pandemic, one New Mexico business’s generous donation is helping Rio Arriba County’s only homeless shelter open its doors. “He said this morning, ‘I woke up feeling like I was being tugged to do something, and so I want to make a donation.’ So he decided to make this donation on behalf of Felicia Barela to Española Pathways Shelter to do what he can to keep her memory alive and to help us to save lives at the same time,” said Ralph Martinez, co-founder of the Española Pathways Shelter.

Martinez says the coronavirus pandemic hit right as they were putting the finishing touches on the Española Pathways Shelter. With the opening plans up in the air, they decided to set up a homeless camp out front, offering food, safety, restrooms, and hygiene stations.

The shelter’s effort drew the attention of Eric Quintana, a local businessman with PMI Services. He told the shelter that he’d lost one of his employees, Felicia Barela, in a fatal car crash earlier this month and in her honor, donated $10,000 to the Pathway Shelter this weekend.

The shelter says the donation is crucial to getting the shelter up to code and ready to provide services. “We had no idea that these were going to be hurdles that we were going to have to cross. It was totally unexpected. this is going to help us get past that hurdle,” Martinez said. Those who would like to help the Española Pathways Shelter can do so on their website.