Monica Monarrez and her husband Charlie Monarrez are the owners of Viva La Mocha, a local print shop that is run right out of the couples home.
As soon as Monica heard about the shooting at Walmart she knew she had to help.
“I knew that we needed to show support somehow, so I told my husband to grab his computer.”
The “El Paso Strong” t-shirt design originally started off as a Facebook profile picture that the couple wanted to use to show support for the victims. The couple then thought about making stickers with the design to hand out to people at memorial sites. But the idea to turn the design into a t-shirt came when one of Charlie’s cousins mentioned that he would purchase one if they did that.
“And then it’s like a light buld went off, and I was like, ‘Hey we can help fundraise to help out these victims,” said Monica.
The night of the shooting, Monica posted on Viva La Mocha’s Facebook page that they would be selling the El Paso Strong t-shirts to raise money for the victims. Whatever profit they made would be donated to the El Paso Community Foundation.
“We put the shirts online for 10 bucks because I thought, we’ll sell 100,” said Monica.
Within hours, they had over 1,800 orders for the shirt.
“And that’s when I shut it off because I was like omg that was a lot,” said Monica.
With the help of volunteers, Viva La Mocha has been able to make over 2,500 El Paso strong shirts and the business has already given a check for $40,000 to the El Paso Community foundation.
The demand for the shirts kept increasing so Monica decided to share her design with other local print shops to keep up with the orders.
“It was gonna take the pressure off of us and it did help because as soon as other people would start selling it they were slammed,” said Monica.
“I think overwhelmed is an overstatement, completely overwhelmed since last Monday,” said Ruby Montana, the lead volunteer at Proper Print Shop.
“Once word got out people started coming by the masses every single day,” said Montana.
The Proper Print shop has already donated $110,000 to the El Paso Community Foundation through the profits made from the t-shirts.
The shop had to close their doors to the public this week to help them catch up with the thousands of orders they have been receiving, but they plan on opening back up this Thursday and will be selling the shirts to the public.
For both shops, being able to come together to raise funds for the victims is something they are both proud of.
“I think it was just a sense of solidarity and teamwork and coming together and recognize this isn’t about our shop it isn’t about just our design its about coming together to help the community,” said Montana.
Both shops will continue to sell the “El Paso Strong” t-shirts as long as the demand is there and any profit from the shirts will continue to go to the El Paso Community Foundation.