Sandra has been coming to Wellspring on and off for the last 15 years and her mother, Francisca, for the past 25 years. Here, they share breakfast and celebrations.
Mother and daughter tend to sit in the back of Wellspring’s dining room and are both enrolled in the center’s sewing class.
“Community means sharing and learning things together and this is what it is,” said Francisca, gesturing to the packed dining room at Wellspring.
“Without Wellspring, I don’t know where a lot of women would be because they help a lot of people – they let many of us, including people experiencing homelessness use their address for mail, they help with bus passes and diapers,” Sandra said. “Sometimes they get taken advantage of and they know it, but they don’t turn their backs on anybody. I think it’s a great program. I’m going to say that I am proud to belong to Wellspring.”
“At the age of 29, I became an addict,” Sandra said. “And at the age of 30, I came back and reclaimed my kids. I got back on my feet again and started working towards a better future. I recently had a relapse. My 14 year old attempted suicide and I just thought that my world was over. It was really hard, but my mother is a great warrior.”
“She has always managed to pull her children out of whatever hole they find themselves in,” Sandra said. “She is not just my mother – she is my guardian angel and my everything.”
“One of her daughters tried to commit suicide and her brother found her,” Francisca said. “I’m taking her to church with me and Sandra found out how great I was with her. I said to my granddaughter – God doesn’t want you dead – he wants you here, but we don’t know what the reason is yet.”
Francisca moved to Michigan from Mexico without knowing any English. She would bring a dictionary to her job interviews and look up words so that she could communicate with her potential employers. “Her employers had to teach her how to say spoon, fork and knife so that she could work as a dishwasher.”
“Everywhere she goes, everyone loves her so much because she is such a hardworking woman,” Sandra said.
When Francisca was growing up, she and her family members would have to eat discarded food. Her family couldn’t afford to buy her a school uniform and without a uniform, she couldn’t attend school.
“I tell my kids – you are blessed, you have so many things,” Francisca said. “You have food and education. That is why I love this country because it gives so much.”
Francisca has her own house cleaning business called Francisca’s Triple Z’s and prepares bagged lunches for Sacramento Unified School District. She has taken many English and adult education classes.
“I like cleaning because I don’t have somebody telling me what to do and I learn how to do it myself,” she said. “The faster I work, the faster I can get out of the house.”
“Yesterday we were at the ER with her [Francisca],” Sandra said. “She has been sick lately – she has high blood pressure and diabetes. There is something wrong with her bones and they told her – you need to rest a couple of days. But, right now, she is ready to work. She is going to clean houses and that is her company – Francisca’s Triple Z’s.”
Sandra has worked as a security guard, translator, and mandated reporter for Child Protection Services and for AmeriCorps at the Food Bank and Family Services.
“Like her, I have a little bit of warrior in me,” she said.