Listen to Francisca's story. Audio Producer: Sarah P. Reynolds

Francisca Sanchez, age 42, was born and raised in Michoacan, Mexico before moving to California. Her husband, a field laborer, works in a faraway town. He rarely comes home and does not send much money. Francisca used to rely on WIC to buy milk and food for her children, but now that they’ve grown past the age-limit of five, she finds other ways to scrape by, like collecting and recycling cans to buy necessities like soap. Her volunteer work at her children’s school has won her several awards, which she hangs proudly on her wall. She says her main focus is to provide a better future to her children.

  • Francisca Sanchez at her home.

  • Francisca's children Lupita and Nacho translate for their mother, who doesn't speak English.

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"Included in this group [the underrclass] are individuals who lack training and skills and either experience long-term unemployment or are not members of the labor force, individuals who are engaged in street crime and other forms of aberrant behavior, and families that experience long-term spells of poverty and/or welfare dependency."

- The Truly Disadvantaged: The Inner City, the Underclass, and Public Policy, by William Julius Wilson

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