A family in California got some much needed support after a photo of two young girls using the free WiFi in a Taco Bell parking lot to complete their school work went viral.
In the photo, two girls can be seen sitting on the sidewalk outside a Taco Bell in Salinas, California, working on laptops as an employee crouches down in front of them.
The faces of the girls in the photo are obscured, but the Salinas City Elementary School District identified the students after the photo began to circulate and “immediately provided the family with a hotspot,” said Richard Gebin, public relations officer for the district.
The image, which has been shared by several local officials, highlights the stark reality that many of the millions of children who are now going back to school virtually, in the U.S. as well as Canada, who do not have access to internet in their homes. It is an example of a problem that has been labelled the digital divide; the have’s and have-not’s of technology.
The district, which has just under 8,500 students, is in full distance learning mode and school officials have already distributed 8,245 Chromebooks and 1,500 hotspots and are now waiting for 2,500 additional hotspots to be delivered.
This is a community in California, where technology is often at the forefront, taking a moment it is easy to imagine how difficult it would be for families in regions who do not spend as much on tech.
The woman who started the fundraiser for the family; Jackie Lopez, said she did so after learning the family was going to be evicted from their home, according to the GoFundMe. The fundraiser has since raised more than $140,000, of a $20,000 target, and the family is working with an accountant to manage the funds.
“All children deserve a happy place to live and because of their dedication, these little girls deserve a safe space to learn,” Lopez wrote. “We appreciate every single one of you for helping making that happen.” She is so very right and it’s nice to see that this family is getting the help they need, you can read more about it in your Good News Story of the Day here.
A spokesperson for Taco Bell Corp. also had something to say when they called the photo “a tough reminder of basic inequalities facing our communities,” in an email. “We and our franchisees have always been passionate about supporting youth education, and the owner of this restaurant is looking into additional ways to support these students and the broader community.”
If you are aware of anyone in our community who could use assistance do not hesitate to reach out to them and act on it. You never know what might happen.
Story and Image from USA Today.