Meet The Reyes Family
Maria and her youngest, Juan, smile for the camera.
When we got there, the living room was filled with blankets and pillows on the floor. We greeted the family and talked with them for a little while after
we brought in and set up four mattresses. Maria was most comfortable telling me her story in Spanish, and her teenage daughter translated.
Maria told us that her three kids lived in Santa Cruz until she lost her job due to the pandemic. After a brief stay in a local family shelter, their case manager helped them find a house. We asked Maria what she would like people to know about homelessness and she told us, "It's very hard to find work while staying in a shelter when you're a single mom". She explained that there was no childcare available in the shelter and that she wasn't allowed to leave her two boys (ages seven and nine) with her 13 year old daughter. "How am I supposed to find work?" she asked.
"It's very hard to find work while staying in a shelter when you're a single mom."
Below: Wings volunteer Tim helps Juan (middle) and Luis (right) set up one of their new beds. The boys were so excited that they each got their own bed. When we handed them their sheet sets they stared at us and Luis said, "We each get one of these? Like, to keep!?" We've never seen sheets bring such joy to children but we were truly happy to witness them running, laughing and playing as they unwrapped their bedding.
Juan (lower) runs downstairs with the trash from unwrapping their bedding while Luis (upper) looks on and smiles.