The Gallegos Family
Oralla, Joseph, and Tomas Gallegos
Tomas Gallegos is 72 years old. Last year, doctors inserted a pacemaker to regulate his heartbeat. His wife, Oralla, is also 72. Three years ago, she had open heart surgery. More recently, she had two toes surgically removed due to diabetes. Walking is a challenge. Their son, Joseph, 51, lives with them and is in a wheelchair. Nine years ago, he was the victim of a drive-by shooting that left him with permanent injuries to his lower back and kidneys. It’s difficult for the family to make ends meet, especially with the rising cost of groceries. Tomas works full-time as a greeter at a local department store. Recently, they received groceries through the food pantry at the St. Vincent de Paul Society. The food helped them stretch Tomas’ paycheck so they could pay utility bills on their small house on the west side of South Bend.
More and more families are facing this dilemma. Daily necessities like food and electricity are harder to afford. But the Gallegos own their home, and they’re proud of it. They want to stay there. They have a nice backyard, which Tomas enjoys mowing. It’s where Tomas and Oralla raised eight children—four boys and four girls. Many photos of them and their children grace their walls, end tables, and shelves. They look so nice in the photos, all dressed up for special occasions like weddings or baptisms. Oralla says that when the kids were growing up, she often purchased clothing and household items at St. Vincent de Paul. "Clothes and shoes, especially, for all the kids. That’s what we went to St. Vincent’s for. And, sometimes, we got good Christmas gifts for them there."
They came to this area as a young couple in 1957. Both were born and raised in Texas, and they came to work in the farm fields on the southwest side of town, picking potatoes, cabbage, and onions. “It was very hard work. When we started we made about 50 cents an hour,” says Oralla. Still, they managed to make enough for a home and a large family, and their health was good. In November, Tomas and Oralla will celebrate 50 years of marriage in the Catholic faith. They are members of St. Adalbert parish.
It's difficult for the family to make ends meet, especially with the rising cost of groceries.
More and more families are facing this dilemma. Daily necessities like food and electricity are harder to afford.