Today, this Club family now has a place to call home.
When 7-year-old Maria began arriving late to the Boys & Girls Club of Garden Grove, hungry and with her hair undone, Club supervisor Suzie Rodriguez immediately knew something was wrong. During drop-off one morning, Suzie saw that the family's truck was filled with their belongings. It only took a moment with Maria's father, Basilio, to see the exhaustion and anxiety behind the mask he was wearing.
"We've been living in our car for a month," he explained. "From time to time, I have enough money for a motel room. Do you know if anybody is renting a room?"
Basilio worked in construction, but work became scarce due to the pandemic. Because of inconsistent employment and income, the family moved from a room they had been renting to a garage. Without notice, the garage was condemned and torn down. Maria and her family had been living in her dad’s truck ever since as he searched for consistent work.
Suzie immediately began making calls to see how the Club could help the family. Club staff and community members collected money, gift cards, food and personal hygiene supplies, and ARCHES (Access to Resources for Children's Health, Education, and Support), which is part of the Club's Community Health Services division, was able to help the family find temporary housing for up to a year while Maria’s dad works to get back on his feet.
Today, this Club family now has a place to call home. Maria’s dad has time to find consistent employment while Maria can safely participate in school and receive daily meals at the Club. Their family has a chance for a fresh start — an opportunity to write a new story.
"When we were living in the car, everyone used to fight a lot," he recalls. "The kids would always ask me, 'why are we living like this?' I explained that things like this sometimes happen in life. But I told them they had to continue studying and keeping up with school, regardless of what we are going through. The Club and ARCHES have changed my children's lives. I can see how happy they are now."
While challenges and uncertainty defined 2020, Boys & Girls Clubs continued to be the place kids, families and communities could count on. In addition to the services and support Clubs always provide, they quickly adapted to help families reeling from job losses, school and childcare closures, and overwhelming food insecurity.
Help Clubs keep doing whatever it takes to protect the future of America's kids who continue to suffer from the devastating effects of the pandemic. Donate now.