Laura Roque was born in central Mexico, one of five children in her family. Her father, who worked in electronics, died of a heart attack when Laura was very young, forcing her two older brothers to drop out of school so that they could get jobs and provide for the family. Laura and her two sisters also started working at young ages to supplement the family income.
laura-roqueIn 1999, Laura decided to leave her homeland and seek greater economic opportunities in the United States, settling here in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro area with her two sons and daughter (now, 23, 21, and 9 years old). She cleans houses for a living, a job which Laura describes as “unreliable” because clients often change her cleaning schedule to accommodate their changing work and travel plans. In addition, Laura says the profession is “very competitive” because of the many other people in the area offering the same housecleaning services.
From month to month, Laura sets a budget and prioritizes how she pays her bills. Rent is always at the top of her list, she says, because it is by far her biggest expense. Once she has enough cash to pay rent, she turns to the electrical, water, and phone bills. There have been times when she and her family have gone without water and electricity because there simply was not enough money left over after paying rent. “I worry every month,” says Laura, “when it comes time to pay the bills, and pray that there is enough to go around.”
Laura is very appreciative of PORCH because it gives her “one less thing to worry about.” The fresh foods from PORCH help Laura stretch her family’s food budget and provide more cushion to pay the utility bills. But, it’s not just the food and financial security. Laura is especially grateful for “every hug and every smile that I get from PORCH during my food pick-ups at Morris Grove Elementary School each month. It means so much to me. Thank you, PORCH, for always being there for me and my family.”
Laura was interviewed for this story by Chapel Hill High School student, Carly LeMoine.