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CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8 | cbs8.com

From cooking up meals inspired by Mexico to helping a Mexican hospital

A Chula Vista Food Network celebrity is using her influence on social media to raise desperately-needed money for a Tijuana hospital during this COVID-19 crisis.

CHULA VISTA, Calif. — Marcela Valladolid or "Chef Marcela" grew up in Tijuana. She now lives in Chula Vista with her husband and children, but she said her other family members and her heart are still in Mexico.

She found out that the Tijuana General Hospital is in desperate need of help.

"The people who are there are risking their lives everyday. They are working double shifts without eating or sleeping," said Valladolid. 

Valladolid knew that she had to help.

"They are having to purchase [their] own supplies. They don't have masks, goggles or ventilators. So, I wondered what I could do from this side," Valladolid said. 

She and her best friend / neighbor, Elizabeth Encinas, worked on a GoFundMe page dedicated to buying medical supplies for both staff and patients there.

The initial hope was to raise $5,000, but Chef Marcela knew people would give much more. 

"I said 'we are going for $50,000 and I'm going to put it on social media,'" said Valladolid. 

A few Instagram influencers with many followers reposted the campaign. In just three days, 1,000 people have donated a combined total of more than $65,000. 

"We are just in this very chaotic, difficult, uncertain time and it is just so beautiful to see so many people jumping in," added Valladolid.

Chef Marcella said if someone donates $20,000, which would bring them closer to the new goal of $100,000, she will go to your house and cook dinner for you and your family as a "thank you" for helping hers.

To help, click here.

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