Maria is a fieldworker and single mom who is working to provide for her sons.

I’m a single mother making minimum wage, and it’s a constant struggle to afford the basics for my family. As a fieldworker my jobs frequently change based on the crops and the season. Until recently I was picking onions on my knees every day from 8pm to 3am. That job ended, and now I’m picking grapes from 6am to 4pm. The working conditions are bad – dust, insects, and often terrible heat.

At $9 an hour, I’m always worried about how I’ll provide for my family. That money has to cover rent, bills, food, and other expenses. And when one fieldwork job ends, I need to find another one immediately to keep my family going.

My 19-year-old son Miguel Angel dropped out of community college after one semester because we couldn’t afford it. He enlisted in the army instead. He saw how much I’m struggling and he worries about how hard the field work is on me, so he wanted to help support us. I’m so thankful for him, but I’m sad that he had to leave college and that there isn’t more I can do to provide for him. $9 an hour just isn’t enough.

Raising the minimum wage would allow me some comfort and may even give my sons the chance to go to college to have a better life.

I’m part of the Lift Up California campaign to provide a better life for my family and all the other families who work hard every day.