After the company she worked for closed down during the pandemic, Rocio started facing difficulties in paying her rent and the bills while also keeping food on the table. The pantry at the Rock of the Valley church has been her saving grace.
Rocio left Peru for the United States in 2010. Upon settling in Van Nuys, she was immediately able to start a new job in debt collections. Rocio moved into an apartment with her brother, but he eventually moved out. Rocio took full responsibility for the rent and bills and everything was going well for her—until it wasn’t.
The rent for her apartment began to increase every year to an amount that did not match her wages. After the company she worked for shut down, it got to the point where Rocio was struggling to pay the bills if she wanted to eat. Luckily, she learned of the food bank at Rock of the Valley Church, one of the Valley Food Bank’s pantry partners. Rocio began coming every Tuesday.
She began to help her mother and a sibling—they live in the same apartment complex and were also struggling with the rent increases. When her mother started experiencing health challenges, Rocio needed to attend to her full time. Although she receives some compensation for caring for her mother, Rocio said the money isn’t enough to pay the bills and buy groceries. Rocio remains prayerful and hopeful that her challenges will pass soon.
Despite her responsibilities and challenges, Rocio began to feel the urge to give back, so she now helps with the food distribution after work on Tuesdays.
Rocio receives flowers with the food packages, and they make her mother smile, she said. Rocio added that she is grateful to God and thankful to everyone who makes the Rock of the Valley Church pantry possible.