SARASOTA, Fla. - Family members of a mother and father killed when their food truck blew a tire and crashed on I-75 are receiving support from the Sarasota and Manatee County communities.
Life will never be the same for 4-year-old Isaac Mendoza and his sister, 5-year-old Carla, who lost both of their parents in the Aug. 16 crash.
"Life changes in an instant and I think that’s one of the biggest things that all of us feels is what could be," said Cesar Garcia. "They asked me personally one time, ‘Why do you guys need to light a candle for my parents?’ I had to explain, 'It's guiding them to heaven.'"
Carlos Mendoza and Alondra Lopez died two weeks ago while working to provide for their family.
Their food truck blew a tire, crashed on I-75, and caught on fire in the median — trapping the couple inside.
Carlos Mendoza and Alondra Lopez were killed when their food truck blew a tire and caught fire on I-75.
"I feel like we have more family now because these two kids will need it," Garcia said.
Immediately, food trucks from across the area began working together to support the family.
"We are a big family, we are all connected," said Miguel Ulloa, owner of El Indo Taco & Snacks.
They held food truck rallies and raised $13,000.
"Automatically, every parent, they look at each other and they were like, ‘That could have been us at any time.’ Accidents happen. This is tragic," said Justin Gillis, owner of Fat & Happy BBQ & more.
The community has rallied around the family of Carlos Mendoza and Alondra Lopez, who lost their lives in a fiery food truck crash.
The story also caught the attention of the Jewish Family and Children Services of the Suncoast.
"I have children of my own and to feel that hurt that the family is going through," said Karen Pharo with JFCS of the Suncoast, which raised $22,000 for the family.
Those donations will be combined with funds raised from the food truck rallies to help the family purchase a home.
"We want to be a part of that forever family for the Mendoza’s family," said Pharo.
Three-year-old Isaac Mendoza and his sister 5-year-old Carla lost their parents when their food truck crashed on a Florida interstate.
They will give the children and their aunt, Clara, a place to call their own while starting a new life together.
"Even through this tragedy, I think something beautiful came of it and I know those kids will have a bright future because the community has come together to help them," said Garcia.
Two food truck rallies will be held on Saturday, September 10.
One rally will be held at 14212 Tamiami Trail in North Port from noon to 6 p.m, while a second rally will be held at Big Top Brewing Company in Sarasota from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.
For more information on the Jewish Family and Children Services of the Suncoast's fundraiser for the Mendoza family, click here.