“I think I would be homeless otherwise. I live here in peace, and don’t worry about being put out on the street.”
Olive Grove Apartments, Santa Rosa
Lucia Barton de Toledo, also known as “Lucha, the fighter,” is a short, fiery 61-year-old woman with a lot of passion. She has lived at Olive Grove for the past eight years and before that lived at Burbank’s Papago Court. She is a star volunteer who leads the Redwood Empire Food Bank’s produce distribution every Monday, serving hundreds of pounds of food to her neighbors. Lucia moved to the United States from Mexico in 1974 to help her widowed mother who was doing backbreaking work to support the family. Lucia worked as a migrant worker, but unfortunately could not rescue her mother before she died. She did however bring her three younger siblings to the States and continued to work as a farm laborer and a line cook. “For seven years I worked from 11:00 pm-5:00 am picking fruit. I would rest for a few hours and then work from 9:00am to 4:00 pm at Acapulco Restaurant.” During this time, she gave birth to her only child Alicia, and was now raising four dependents. “I would do it all, working multiple jobs.” She worked hard for many years, but then later suffered from brain tumors and asthma. The tumors removed, but she could no longer drive or work long hours. Affordable housing was a lifesaver. “I think I would be homeless otherwise. I live here in peace, and don’t worry about being put out on the street.” “I want to work, but I cannot. There were moments when I wanted to give it all up; living was such torment. I give thanks that I am here. This place is clean, safe and well cared for.”
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