“It’s hard to believe that I worked my entire adult life and my Social Security income and small savings don’t cover the cost of my efficiency apartment, utilities, medicine, and food. The Foodbank’s Brown Bag Program has been a godsend…it’s painful not having enough food to eat the last several days of every month.
No matter how well I planned, I simply ran out of money to buy food. I have survived because of The Foodbank’s helping hands.”
On the surface, Eduardo appears to be a typical 8 year old, living in Harbor City, CA; a neighborhood with a small town feeling, that is adjacent to other neighborhoods known for gangs, violence, and drug. What most don’t realize is that for nearly his entire life, Eduardo has helped his mother care for his older brother Raul, who is now 15. Raul has been bed stricken for the last 8 years when he was diagnosed with Addison-Schilder Disease; a rare, inherited disorder that leads to progressive brain damage, failure of the adrenal glands and eventually death.
Elina (mother) was pregnant with Eduardo when she got the news about Raul. At a few months old it was confirmed that Eduardo had the same ailment as his older brother. The only positive thing about this situation was that unlike Raul, Eduardo at 5 years old was given a bone marrow transplant and endured chemotherapy that stopped the disease from taking over his body.
Elina and her husband Jorge (who works 67 hour a week at two low paying jobs) care for their two boys; one in bed in vegetated state and one that was going through chemo. This has been a tough 3-year period for the family. Eduardo’s hair has never grown back and he still needs medication and doctor care. Raul is still bed stricken… but that is what is normal for this family.
Fortunately, the family is being helped with a weekly grocery delivery that includes USDA goods and other foods from The Foodbank of Southern California. Additionally, during Easter, Thanksgiving and specially Christmas the family receives a holiday basket and gifts. Because the food is delivered, mom (Elina) is able to stay home and care for the boys; she cares for Raul 24 hours a day.
Eduardo is in 3rd grade now, he lost a year with the transplant and chemo but he is working hard to catch up. He spends most of his spare time helping with Raul. The rest of his time is spends playing with his puppy. Eduardo would like to be a doctor when he grows up. His mother (Elina) is inspired by Eduardo’s strength, determination and don’t quit spirit. As she said “When things get hard and she starts to get depressed all she was to do is remember how her community foodbank helped her family and that gives her the courage to continue on.”