Joanna Cruz is thirty and has three children. When Joanna first joined Witnesses to Hunger in 2008, she was living in North Philadelphia, and working in a temporary position through a welfare-to-work program, filing stacks of papers for approximately $30 a day. She struggled to make ends meet at that job and said, “I had to get to work for three days on two tokens because welfare says they couldn’t give me more carfare money. But if it’s at a time when I may have run out of food, of course my priority is to feed my kids before I try to get to work. I know going to the job is going to pay me in the end, but I can’t let them starve all week long. So I’m going to use that money to feed them first.”
Today, Joanna is living in New Jersey with her mother, daughter, and son. She is working minimum wage at a local convenience store, and has continued to passionately advocate for her community, for fair wages, and for a better life for her children.
“She’s only six," Joanna says about her youngest daughter. "She just does what she has to do. She doesn’t complain, does not complain at all. That’s the way it is. Maybe I’m teaching her moral values to be a stronger person, or to say ‘I’m never going to live like this.’ I hope so. I hope she has it in her head that I’m never going to ever, ever, live like this, ever again in my life. When she gets older, I want her to grow up to be a better person.”
Joanna is an entrepreneur, and hopes to one day use her talents in
crocheting, baking, and beauty care to bring her family to a stable
level of economic security.
Sunday, March 30, 2014
9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Common Great Room
Talk about Us
is organized and produced
by the Arcadia University