Sign up for The Brief, our daily newsletter that keeps readers up to speed on the most essential Texas news.
UVALDE — Alfred Garza III wakes up at around 11 a.m. most days and downs a can of Monster Energy drink. After a shower, he heads to a popular eatery here, El Herradero de Jalisco, and orders a fajita chicken salad. Then, he makes his way to his father’s mechanic shop, where he hangs out until evening.
Then he goes home to watch Netflix or YouTube videos until he falls asleep around 1 a.m.
That’s been the grieving father’s routine since May 24, when a gunman killed 10-year-old Amerie Jo Garza, his only child, along with 18 other students and two teachers at Robb Elementary. Since that day, he’s been unable to muster the will to return to his old life and his job as a salesman at a local auto dealership.
Garza, 35, worries he’ll fall behind on his mortgage and car payments. He’s scrounging to pay for gas and food. And he’s confused about why he’s been unable to find meaningful financial assistance from nonprofits or the state, despite millions of dollars being made available to the people of Uvalde after the shooting.
“I’m not expecting life-changing money out of the situation,” Garza said from his living room, where the last school portrait of his daughter hangs on the wall. “It’s just to get me through this rough patch until I go back to work.”
Alfred Garza wears a necklace bearing a photo of his daughter, who was 10 when she died at Robb Elementary.
Evan L’Roy for The Texas Tribune
After the shooting, Gov. Greg Abbott announced he would allocate $5 million for Uvalde to open a social services center for grieving residents. That created confusion for many in the community, including the mayor and a state representative for the area who said they expected those dollars to flow directly to residents.
“It’s just ridiculous, it’s almost like, where’s this money going? Like, “Hey, I need help, I need money,’” Garza said.
Separately, at least $16 million has been raised from thousands of donations from across the country, flowing into GoFundMe accounts and local nonprofit organizations. But that money hasn’t yet been distributed to the people it’s intended for, and it could take months before that is …….