UPDATED 9/3, 10:25 a.m. ET: The girls in the photo and their family are being helped out by a GoFundMe that's raised over $143,000. The person running the fundraiser, Jackie Lopez, says the girls' mother, Juana, will begin a college fund for her daughters and her 1-year-old.
"Juana also wants to use some of the money for therapy for her kids," TMZ reports. "She says the family's been in and out homelessness and it's likely had an effect on the kids, so she wants her daughters to talk to a professional." Juana is reportedly seeking a mobile home and an upgrade to a cart she uses to sell ice cream.
"I made sure I set the mom up with an accountant. She's a licensed professional that will help her manage the funds. We wanted to set her up so that it would last her a long time and would benefit the girls and their future," Lopez told KION. She added, "I just wanted them to have a place to live, to call home, to be able to distance learn in peace and concentrate in their own space. That was my ultimate goal."
See original story below.
A photo of the girls outside of the Taco Bell in Salinas, California went viral, which shows them sitting on the ground with their homework and laptops as two employees talk to them. While many online were appalled at the kids’ lack of resources—with some elected officials pointing to the digital inaccessibility in certain marginalized communities—others were concerned that the children were being neglected.
Salinas City Elementary School District then came forward and said that the kids are students in the district, which is working to amend the situation and supply internet hotspots.
However, the alleged neglect led to a welfare check. Child Protective Services officials investigated to see if there was any child neglect or abuse happening, found nothing, and left. But the family was still in trouble: they were about to become homeless because they couldn’t pay rent. That's when local community members stepped up to help the family and pulled resources together so that they could stay in a hotel for the meantime. The concerned citizens also launched a GoFundMe for the family.