Viral photo shows 2 California girls studying outside Taco Bell after eviction

Friday, September 4, 2020
Girls study outside Taco Bell after eviction
WATCH: Hear from the mother of the now-viral girls as she reacts to the outpouring of support she and her family have received following their eviction.

SALINAS, California -- Days after a photo of two students connecting to Wi-Fi outside a California Taco Bell went viral, their mom is speaking out.

The viral photo revealed how they did school work, sitting on a sidewalk outside Taco Bell to connect to Wi-Fi.

"The girls went there because they didn't have internet," mother Juana Valencia Garcia said. "They wanted to study."

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

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"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," Garcia said.

A GoFundMe called "Help For The Girls" has raised over $145,000.

A Salinas Police Department spokesperson tells KION, "We want to make sure there are no irregularities. Our ultimate goal is the welfare of the young girls and their family."

"We're just trying to help," immigrant advocate Flor Martinez said. "We don't need to receive this type of backlash."

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

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

Martinez says she's working to find the Garcia family 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 has reportedly offered the family food, clothing and other essential products.