“This Food Saved Us”

August 31, 2018

·      Update on a family you helped

·      Life is beautiful for Elena and her three girls.

(Photo) Elena surrounded by her three girls, Maria, age nine,Michele, age six, and Marcela, age five.

You first met Elena two years ago at Fay Elementary School with her three daughters: Maria, Michele, and Marcela.“My M&Ms,” she called them. They were struggling to get by, dependent on Elena’s husband’s income as a house painter to feed the girls.

“Every day was a struggle,” said Elena.

Elena and her husband, Carlos, moved to San Diego, California from Michoacán, Mexico because they wanted better opportunities for their daughters.

“Everything is better here for my girls, better education, better food, better shoes. There are no opportunities in Mexico,” she said.

But, providing a better life for her daughters meant sacrificing a lot. They could only afford a tiny one bedroom apartment for the five of them. Elena had not seen her family since she left 12 years previously, and she missed them terribly. She had never even met her little sister, who was born after she moved away.

Elena and her girls are a part of our “Feeding San Diego’s Kids” program and they receive a backpack filled with food every week. Our dedicated volunteers stuff the backpacks and deliver them to four elementary schools in San Diego. These backpacks feed dozens of homeless and needy families in the San Diego area every week.

Elena and her girls started receiving their backpacks two years ago. Before, they were enrolled in the program the girls ate well during the week on the free meal program at school, but Elena had to scrape by to feed them on the weekends.

Elena and her girls in 2016 at Fay Elementary School in San Diego.Michele wants to be a soccer player and a model when she grows up! Maria wants to be a librarian.

Elena and her girls in 2016 at Fay Elementary School in San Diego.Michele wants to be a soccer player and a model when she grows up! Maria wants to be a librarian.

“This program saved my life,” said Elena. “And the girls love the food!”

Each girl has her favorite food that comes in the backpack. Maria loves the peanut butter and jelly, Michele prefers the spaghetti, and Marcela said the rice was her favorite.

Elena and her three precious daughters in 2018. “They are my world,” she says.

Two years later and life is looking much brighter for Elena and her girls. Elena is working part time at the 99 Cent Store during the day while her kids are in school. With this job, she has finally saved enough money to go visit her family! It’s been 14 years! She will finally meet her little sister for the first time.

Elena learned to drive and she bought a small car, which has made life so much easier. She can get to and from work and pick the girls up from school every day.

They still live in the one bedroom apartment, but Elena says they are used to it now and the girls are great at sharing their spaces with one another.

The girls enjoy school and are excelling in their studies. Their mom tells them that if they try hard in school, they can achieve their dreams.

“I feel very secure and independent. I am really happy. My daughters are happy. My husband is doing well. Thank you for helping us get through a very difficult time for our family. You saved us!”

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