Carlos and Vanessa took a chance on Texas. They decided to pack their kids and their things in their car and resettle in Waco from California's Central Valley.
With two kids to raise, Jude and Eisley, the family is adjusting to their new home. The family is proud Jude has tested into kindergarten early and will be starting soon.
With Jude concentrating on reading, especially his favorite Z sound book, and Vanessa looking after them at home, Carlos is focused on providing for his family.
The transition hasn’t been easy. The family was not expecting the high cost of living they have been met with.
“It really opened our eyes a lot when we got here and realized how much more we were going to struggle,” Carlos said.
As soon as they arrived in Waco, Carlos found a seasonal job, but it has been difficult to make ends meet. Even after working 96 hours on his last paycheck, it was barely enough for their $800 rent.
“When all your expenses exceed your income, it’s really difficult. It’s more than people just being lazy,” Carlos said.
To help stretch their budget, the family goes to their local food pantry, a Partner Agency of the Food Bank, to help stock their refrigerator and pantry.
At the pantry the family gets to take home a cart packed with staples, protein and fresh produce they use to get creative in the kitchen.
“I cook more often now, but he’s better,” Vanessa said. “We like fusion foods and mixing things together. We like to try new things!”
Though times have been tough, they’re especially appreciative of the fresh produce they can take home.
“It really does make a difference. I try to go fresh all the time,” Carlos said. “Even if you’re broke, when you eat fresh, it makes you feel better, even just for that moment. If you always eat from cans, you feel bad.”
With a new permanent job on the horizon for Carlos, the family is grateful for all the help they have received from the Food Bank.
“We are so thankful, so thankful. We wouldn’t eat without this to be honest,” Carlos said.
The Food Bank serves nearly 46,000 individuals, like Carlos' family, each week. Despite our best efforts, we are still falling short of meeting the need by 30 percent. That’s why we need your help to close the meal gap for three months during Amplify Austin to ensure that hard working families like Carlos’ have a meal on their table.
Your donation of just $50 will provide 200 meals to families in need during Amplify Austin on February 28 to March 1. Give now to have your donation count towards the 24-hour day of giving.