More than $142,000 has been raised for a family in California after two girls were spotted last week using a Taco Bell’s Wi-Fi to complete their school work.
A photo of the two girls, which quickly went viral, showed them on the sidewalk outside a Taco Bell location in Salinas, California, working from their laptops as two employees watched.
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My mom sent me this picture today. These 2 young girls were looking for a place with WiFi to do their school work so they sat near Taco Bell to connect to the free WiFi. A lot of us don’t have to worry about having a proper WiFi connection or a quiet place to work from home. Every student from preschool through college should have free access to reliable WiFi especially now. What can we do as a community to pull together for students who need something as simple as WiFi in order to succeed? Please share and tag people in our community who can help. UPDATE: THE GIRLS WERE IDENTIFIED BY THEIR SCHOOL DISTRICT AND GIVEN HOTSPOTS! I’M SURE THERE ARE OTHER CHILDREN IN NEED, I AM HOPING THEY ALL GET THE TOOLS THEY NEED! IF LOCAL BUSINESSES WOULD LIKE TO DONATE THEIR SPACE TO SET UP OUTDOOR INTERNET CAFES, PLEASE LET ME KNOW. I WOULD LOVE TO HELP RALLY UP SUPPLIES AND MAN POWER! I ENCOURAGE EVERYONE TO REACH OUT TO YOUR OWN COMMUNITIES TO HELP STUDENTS IN YOUR AREA PLEASE CHECK OUT THE UPDATE ON THE FALSE POLICE ALLEGATIONS MADE BY A REPOSTER OF THIS PICTURE! DO HOMEWORK BEFORE YOU DONATE TO ANYONE. UNFORTUNATELY THERE IS QUESTIONABLE BEHAVIOR. HOPING THAT THOSE HELPING HAVE GOOD INTENTIONS. 😞 Although I appreciate it, please don’t follow my page. It’s only public for now because of this picture but I will be erasing all new followers. #freewifi #salinas #equityineducation #socialinjustice #socialinequality #educationmatters #wififorall #educationforall #salinascalifornia #digitaldivide #cometogether #communitylove #ittakesavillage #saveourkids #dosomething
Although the girls’ faces were obscured, the school district was able to identify them and give the family a hotspot, USA Today reported.
“The digital divide is very real, and delays in receiving needed technology are a statewide concern,” Amy Ish, president of the Salinas City Elementary School District, said in a statement. “We are grateful the state is making technology a priority and look forward to receiving these hotspots in our District.”
The district, comprised of 8,500 students, is in full virtual learning mode.
School officials have already doled out 8,245 Chromebooks and 1,500 hotspots to students, and are waiting for 2,500 more hotspots to be delivered.
Jackie Lopez said she started a GoFundMe campaign for the family after learning they were going to be evicted from their apartment.
As of Wednesday afternoon, the campaign has raised $142,487, and the family is working with an accountant to manage the money.
“All children deserve a happy place to live, and because of their dedication, these little girls deserve a safe space to learn,” Lopez wrote. “We appreciate every single one of you for helping making that happen.”