The Cárdenas Family

Miguel and Rosalva visiting the food pantry

*Names are kept anonymous to protect client privacy.

Just two years ago, Miguel and Rosalva Cárdenas lived in a $250,000 home in San Antonio. They lived on a combined income of $47,000. They hosted family barbeques once every two months and occasionally had friends and neighbors over for dinner. They cared after their youngest child, a 26-year-old woman with a learning disability. Their three older children lived on their own and supported themselves and their families.

Life seemed to be going well, until Miguel suffered a heart attack on the job and had a quintuple bypass. He was forced to stop working for months. Months later, Rosalva fell and broke three discs in her back. The doctor told her she could only work two hours a day, and so Rosalva lost her job.

“We went from earning $47,000 a year to $12,000 from disability insurance,” Miguel said. “Situations change. Hunger really can happen to anyone.”

In the last two years, Miguel and Rosalva have been trying to piece their lives back together. They sold their $250,000 home in San Antonio, moved to Austin and bought a trailer home. Until Rosalva‘s disability insurance goes through, she, Miguel and their daughter struggle to make ends meet.

“We never know when a person’s circumstances may change for the worst, but it is very comforting to know that there is someone out there who is willing to lend a helping hand,” Miguel said.

Miguel says one of his worst struggles is staying quiet and resting. “My Type-A personality doesn’t make it easy for me to rest. I can’t keep still, so the last two years have been hard.”

He is eager to get out of the house and do some volunteer work. “I used to volunteer all the time,” he said. “I volunteered for the Civil Air Patrol, which is part of the U.S. Air Force. We would bring children out of the streets and teach them leadership skills.”

As Miguel and Rosalva begin to get back on their feet, they plan to give back to El Buen Samaritano in the way of writing, translating and putting on puppet shows for El Buen’s youngest learners in the Child Learning Center.

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