A Tale of Three Families
Local Families’ Lives Challenged by COVID-19
Last updated 4/27/2020 at 12:41pm
Alicia and Carlos (not real names) have to choose between paying for Internet service or paying the rent on the home they share with their three children. She lost her job at a local resort and he had his grounds keeping hours reduced. Their money, including savings, is disappearing quickly on food, gas and other bills. There will be no unemployment for her, as she doesn’t qualify for federal assistance, only a one-time immigrant grant for $500.
Internet is needed for the children’s school work, especially their Borrego Springs Unified School District 4.0 senior daughter who will be attending college next year and is applying for scholarships while finishing her schoolwork online. They decided to pay the Internet bill.
Alicia and Carlos realize they could ask for a postponement on this month’s rent, but this would only create a growing debt for which they would eventually be responsible. They have a healthy fear of debt and try their best to live within their means. As is customary in many of our Latin X families, other family members step in and assist when necessary but now their extended families have also lost jobs.
This couple is going to receive assistance from the COVID-19 Task Force, specifically the Borrego Ministers’ Association (see information below). In the meantime, Alicia is actively searching for work and if anyone has a “no human contact” job, please let the Borrego Ministers’ Association know. In the meantime, both parents say they came to America because they want so much for their children to have a bright future. Alicia and Carlos smile proudly as their daughter’s pending acceptance to a university is mentioned. In spite of the current bleak situation, they feel confident that things will improve soon.
Blanca (not real name), a single mother of a 3-year-old, walked into her job at a local resort and was told that the next day would be her last. She was expecting this in light of the COVID-19 news reports, but wasn’t prepared for it to be so sudden. The next day she received her final paycheck and she immediately applied for unemployment. The system is horribly backed up, and while she waits for news on this, her funds are running low. Blanca has begun picking up groceries at one of Borrego’s five monthly Food Banks.
Blanca is interested in applying for a retail job in Coachella where they are hiring. However, she is fearful of possibly bringing home the virus to her elderly parents with whom she lives and shares expenses. They decided that work outside of Borrego is not a good choice at this time.
Blanca shared that this experience has taught her to be better prepared for such surprises so she has decided to use her new “free” time to prepare herself for the California Highway Patrol Exam. She has been studying for this for quite some time and she is now motivated to get it done. About the lack of money, she philosophically states, “Money will come when it’s meant to come.”
Life in Ruben and Victoria Valdivia’s home (not real names) must be witnessed to truly understand the organization, teamwork and patience that go into making their new daily routine work! Ruben works long days in agriculture and Victoria works two jobs, one from home now and the other at a Borrego facility from 4 p.m. to midnight. With six children, four in school, they realized they had to purchase the Internet. The school district provided the Chromebooks and now Victoria’s day consists of scheduling which child has a Zoom meeting with what teacher and when. She works with the younger ones on their work packets all the while carrying out the responsibilities of her real job, which she is now doing from home. Victoria claims it is a huge challenge and she does get annoyed more easily but states good naturedly that all she has to do is raise the threatening “chancla” and all kids move into their places!
This has been a “blessing in disguise” states Victoria. Working closely with her children on their schoolwork, she now has a more in depth understanding of where they are struggling in school and how she can help them. In addition, her husband’s supportive role makes it all bearable, she states. He walks in the door after a long day of physical labor and immediately takes over the evening program of serving dinner and getting all kids bathed and ready for bed. Kudos also go to their older children who step up to babysit and assist. It’s teamwork at its very best.
Many Borrego families are struggling, and in response to this, many kind and generous folks are stepping up to assist. If you would like to join this growing number of Borregans, or if you or someone you know needs assistance, please contact the website or number below. Your contributions are greatly appreciated.
BSUSD School-Community Liaison
COVID-19 Task Force
Borrego Springs Ministers’ Association
Food Banks for free food:
St. Richard’s Catholic Church (611 Church Lane) 10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
Borrego Springs High Continuation School (2243 Diegueno Dr.) 10:30 a.m. – 12: 30 p.m. on Monday’s:
Borrego Springs Episcopal Church (2680 Country Club Rd.) 11:30 a.m. – 3 p.m. on Monday’s: