They may live near Silicon Valley, but two children were forced to sit outside a Taco Bell in order to log on to their school's distance learning, so they could use the restaurant's free WiFi—and now more than $118,000 has been raised for them. "A lot of us don’t have to worry about having a proper WiFi connection or a quiet place to work from home," writes the person who posted an image of the girls on Instagram. "Every student from preschool through college should have free access to reliable WiFi especially now." It went viral, and a GoFundMe campaign was set up. The poster also updated later to say the school district had identified the girls and given them internet hotspots.
"This is California, home to Silicon Valley...but where the digital divide is as deep as ever," the president pro tempore of the California Senate tweeted. "Where 40% of all Latinos don't have internet access. This generation deserves better." "Juana is a single mom to three smart and outgoing little girls," explains the GoFundMe organizer, who tracked the family down after seeing the photo. "She is an essential worker that works in the fields picking berries. She is a dedicated mother that works hard to provide for them. On her days off from work she sells flowers on the side of the road. When field work is off-season she walks around Salinas selling ice-cream, snacks and candy. She doesn’t take a day off because that is a day she could be making a few dollars to provide for her girls." The family was about to be evicted from the single room they all shared when the campaign started. (Read more coronavirus stories.)