More than $145,000 raised for family of 2 girls who did homework outside Calif. Taco Bell

Published: Sep. 4, 2020 at 12:58 PM CDT
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SALINAS, Calif. (KION) - In just a week, two students have become a viral sensation, their story touching hearts everywhere.

A photo revealed how they did schoolwork, sitting on a sidewalk outside Taco Bell to connect to Wi-Fi.

“The girls went there because they didn’t have internet. They wanted to study,” said their mom, Juana Valencia Garcia.

She said the Garcias have received an outpouring of support after some discovered they were evicted from their home.

“They helped me find a place to put all of my stuff, and now they helped me find a place to live even if it’s just for a week,” she said.

A GoFundMe called Help for the Girls has raised over $145,000.

Every few minutes, new donations come in, but Salinas Police have decided to dig a little deeper.

A department spokesperson tells KION they want to make sure there are no irregularities. “Our ultimate goal is the welfare of the young girls and their family,” they said.

“We’re just trying to help. We don’t need to receive this type of backlash,” said Flor Martinez, an immigrant rights advocate who said she’s been helping the Garcias.

She said she set them up with an accountant to handle the money raised online.

“When we met this mother, no one was helping her. Her daughters were already viral. It was a couple days in already. She was not receiving any help,” Martinez said.

She said she’s working to find the Garcias a more permanent home.

The family is hoping their story will bring help to others, too. “I want them to help all the kids that are in need of internet,” Garcia said.

The Salinas City Elementary School District said it has offered the family food, clothing and other essential products.

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