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$140,000 Raised For Girls Who Used California Taco Bell’s WiFi To Do Homework

by : Julia Banim on : 02 Sep 2020 16:58
$140,000 Raised For Girls Who Used California Taco Bell's WiFi To Do HomeworkMs_Mamie89/Instagram/Jackie Lopez/gofundme

An online fundraiser for two young girls who were forced to use Taco Bell’s WiFi to do their homework has raised more than $140,000 at the time of writing.

A photograph of the girls went viral after it was shared by Instagram user Ms_mamie89, highlighting the digital divide that all too often hinders the academic progress of children from less affluent backgrounds.

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The picture, taken in Salinas, California, shows the girls sat outside a Taco Bell so they could connect to the WiFi, completing their homework out on the pavement.

Ms_mamie89, who had been sent the photograph by her mother, urged people to share the photograph and take action, writing:

A lot of us don’t have to worry about having a proper WiFi connection or a quiet place to work from home.

Every student from preschool through college should have free access to reliable WiFi especially now. What can we do as a community to pull together for students who need something as simple as WiFi in order to succeed?

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The photograph certainly had a positive effect, and the Salinas community has since shown support for the girls, providing them with various resources.

The district has also reportedly provided a hotspot for the family, and has encouraged others currently struggling to access the internet to get in touch with school officials.

salinasJackie Lopez/gofundme

As reported by The Californian, the girls have since been identified as two students from the Salinas City Elementary School District, which is among the largest districts in Monterey County.

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One of the girls attends Sherwood Elementary School, while the other is a student at Los Padres Elementary School.

Public relations officer for the Salinas City Elementary School District (SCESD), Richard Gebin, told The Californian:

Our district became aware of a post that is circulating on social media early this morning. We immediately identified the students belonging to SCESD, and since then, have provided the family with a hotspot so that our students can safely access classroom instruction from home.

We are aware of connectivity concerns and we have placed additional orders for hotspots to address the digital divide.

Taco BellWikimedia Commons
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On Sunday, August 30, Salinas resident Jackie Lopez set up a GoFundMe campaign to help support the girls and the family, and has since received an overwhelming response.

In the campaign description, Lopez explained that the girls’ mother is a migrant worker called Juana, an essential worker and single mother to three daughters. Lopez soon learned that Juana and her children were facing eviction from the rented room they were sharing.

Thanks to the generous donations, Lopez was able to get together enough money for Juana and the girls to stay in a hotel for a week, while providing them with food, clothing, school supplies and other essential items.

Lopez wrote:

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For now they are safe but they need as much help as they can get. Thank you for helping change their lives.

All children deserve a happy place to live and because of their dedication, these little girls deserve a safe space to learn. We appreciate every single one of you for helping making that happen.

In an update on August 31, Lopez revealed that an accountant had been hired to assist Juana with the management of donations, with funding available for withdrawal the following day.

You can make a donation for yourself here.

If you have a story you want to tell, send it to UNILAD via [email protected]

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Julia Banim

Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.

Topics: Life, California, gofundme, Now

Credits

Jackie Lopez/gofundme and 1 other
  1. Jackie Lopez/gofundme

    Help for the girls - Salinas

  2. The Californian

    Photo of Salinas students using Taco Bell WiFi spotlights long-standing digital divide