A group of Northwest Arkansans will travel across the border to help a family in a poor Mexican community. It’s all in memory of a 10-year-old who was tragically killed eight-years ago in Fayetteville.
“I get to honor Olivia and I get to meet people who knew Olivia and loved her very, very much,” said Bekah Smith, one of Olivia’s best friends.
Eight years ago, tragedy struck. 10-year-old, Olivia Ray, was gone. Since then, the family has carried on her name in a unique way.
“We build homes for people who have been living in their cars. This is the first structure they ever had, their first dry roof, or the first lock on the door that they ever had,” said Jane Ray, who lost her daughter, Olivia, back in 2009.
The organization, Olivia’s Basket, has traveled the world helping poor families a cause near and dear to her heart.
“They give her life after death and they keep her alive in my family and my sister’s friends and we just feel connected to her,” said Hannah Lloyd-Jones, Olivia’s sister.
Since 2010, Olivia’s Basket has been putting on house-building trips. They’ve done 17 of them, in fact. But this year is different. This time around, it’s all about girl power.
21 women will head to Mexico to build a house for a single mother and her two children.
“All of these women love our family, love Olivia, and they said yes because many of them have wanted to do this for a long time and have never had the opportunity,” Ray said.
Among the 21 are Olivia’s best friends, Bekah and Jordan, two seniors at Fayetteville High.
“I get to honor Olivia and I get to meet people who knew Olivia and loved her very very much,” Smith said.
“We’re women, we can do anything! Come on, man! There’s no stopping us,” said Jordan Cook, another one of Olivia’s best friends.
“This is the one, because they are there,” Ray said.
For these ladies, it’s more than just driving a nail home. It’s about healing a community in Northwest Arkansas and abroad.
“For generations it will change that family. they will attend school, they will go on to further education, their jobs will be better. It’s kind of a no-brainer why we do this,” Ray said.