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He lost everything and lives in a shelter with his grandkids, but he still dreams

·3 min read

Help from a generous reader will make life a little easier for Roberto Jáuregui, a 59-year-old Mexican immigrant who is fighting physical pain as he tries to support two adolescent grandchildren. Jáuregui, a carpenter by trade, has felt the pain in his very body over the last 15 months.

First came the sudden death of his wife from COVID-19 in August 2020, as they took care of grandchildren Angel and Jaime, 12 and 13 years old, a responsibility they took over when their daughter and her seven younger children were deported to Nicaragua.

Roberto Jáuregui, 59, has experienced a series of very difficult events that have left him and his grandsons, Jamie Escobar, 13, and Angel Escobar, 12, homeless.
Roberto Jáuregui, 59, has experienced a series of very difficult events that have left him and his grandsons, Jamie Escobar, 13, and Angel Escobar, 12, homeless.

Then came a work accident that had devastating consequences.

“While I was at work, I stepped on a screw with my left foot, and it got complicated with gangrene. But because I am diabetic, they had to amputate the leg,” Jáuregui told el Nuevo Herald. Committed to carrying out his wife’s promise to watch over the family, he vowed to be the lead caretaker for the children.

He received $1,000 from his employer and then, without a job or health insurance, continued paying the rent on his apartment until he ran out of money. That’s when he and the children were evicted and put on the street.

Facing a crisis, Jáuregui called the police, which cleared the way for them to enter the shelter in September. The Chapman Partnership, a nonprofit linked to the Miami-Dade County Homeless Trust, nominated him for the Wish Book, an initiative by the Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald to help the needy during the holiday season.

Chapman works to allow the homeless to build a positive future through a range of programs and services designed to help them grow more self-sufficient.

“Roberto came to us at a very difficult moment of his life. He is a family man, a hard worker who because of unforeseen circumstances has not managed to achieve stability. He is humble. We should help him, because he only wants to get his life back and guarantee a future for his grandchildren,” said Arlene Peterson, Chapman vice president for development.

The organization has been serving from 2,500 to 4,000 people per year since its founding about 25 years ago.

Roberto Jauregui, 59, holds back tears as he talks about losing his wife to COVID-19, having his leg amputated after an industrial accident and living in a shelter with his grandsons.
Roberto Jauregui, 59, holds back tears as he talks about losing his wife to COVID-19, having his leg amputated after an industrial accident and living in a shelter with his grandsons.

Roberto needs a walker, insulin to control his diabetes and physical therapy, as well as clothes that fit his 6’ 1” frame.

For the children he’s asking for T-shirts, pants, shoes, black Nike Air Force sneakers, footballs and basketballs, table games, tablets, Razor scooters, cellphones and a desktop computer.

Jáuregui said the children have adapted to life in the shelter, despite the problems they face.

“These months have been terrible. I have lost everything,” he said. “I don’t want anything for myself. My big dream is that my grandchildren will have a profession that guarantees their future.”

How to help

To help this nominee and 150 others who are in need this year:

▪ To donate, use the coupon found in the newspaper or pay securely online through www.MiamiHerald.com/wishbook

▪ For more information, call 305-376-2906 or emailWishbook@MiamiHerald.com

▪ The most requested items are often laptops and tablets for school, furniture, and accessible vans

▪ Read all Wish Book stories on www.MiamiHerald.com/wishbook

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