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An Undocumented Guatemalan Single Mother Fed L.A.’s Queer Community for Years, Now They’ve Come Together to Feed Her

[dropcap size=big]O[/dropcap]ur communities are proving to be the pandemic lifeline for Angelenos all across the city, so when local street vendor Roselia “Rosy” Milagro Rosales Gil fell on hard times, she reached out to the LGBTQ+ bar scene she’s fed for the past 15 years.

The 52-year-old undocumented single mother from Guatemala has loyally nourished L.A.’s queer nightlife at numerous establishments in Hollywood, saving countless patrons from going to sleep without eating something to soak up all the booze first. With COVID-19 wiping out all of her business in 2020, she’s been unable to pay her bills or for food for her family, now facing possible homelessness with her sister and 16-year-old daughter. 

When local DJs Victor Rodriguez and husband Jerren Ronald heard what she was going through, they put together a GoFundMe with a $30,000 goal for her family, so far raising $7,300 in just the past two days. Rodriguez says, “She was like your Aunty there ready to feed you, for us, it was important to do something to try to help her.” 

“Rosy, we support you!” a Donor commented online as the love’s poured in. Another added “Amiga!!! I❤️Rosy” 

“She’s the sweetest loveliest women ever,” Rodriguez said. “People loved her, all you hear coming out her mouth is “ayo amigo!” cuz she knew everyone and everyone knew her. She’s been an important part without anybody realizing.” 

Roselia “Rosy” Milagro Rosales Gil's setup. Photo via gofundme.

Sixteen years ago, Gil started off vending by herself in Hollywood heading there every night on the Metro redline with her prepped food and a propane tank. After police kept harassing her for having a gas tank on the subway or for selling on the street, someone told her she should sell outside of the local gay bar Faultline as nobody was selling there. Coming from a very religious background in a country where people could be killed for being openly LGBT+, Gil took on the new spot fifteen years ago accepting the people she knew little about with open arms and ended up finding love for those she now considers family. 

Pre-pandemic business was going so well she was putting her 26-year-old son through college in Guatemala while sending her 82-year-old mother money for food and medicine twice a month.

Selling a classic menu from tacos to bacon-wrapped hot dogs, her reportedly “BOMB” Central American-Mexican food and kind-hearted smile earned her a permanent place in the scene. They embraced her so much (with regular hugs), she was able to save up for her first cart then later expand with a second stand at North Hollywood’s “The Bullet Bar,” dedicating herself to feeding the community and catering warehouse parties like “Por Detroit” with six employees on staff.

Pre-pandemic business was going so well she was putting her 26-year-old son through college in Guatemala while sending her 82-year-old mother money for food and medicine twice a month. Then with the COVID-19 outbreak, all her business halted with the shutdown of nightlife and her undocumented status preventing her from getting any relief like unemployment. 

Having to fear both getting sick from the virus and threats of being fined by the health department for not having a permit, she started selling food over the phone which wasn’t enough money. Then in September, carjackers attempted to steal her van which she used for her business, damaging the interior of the car and the $5000 in repairs wiping out all of her savings. 

Roselia “Rosy” Milagro Rosales Gil. Photo via gofundme.

Her son had to stop going to college and she hasn’t been able to support her mother who relied on her for help since March. Now she’s been surviving off of what little she can get from local food banks, the bills piling up to the point the stress is making her sick as her family’s under threat of homelessness. 

Early on in the pandemic Rodriguez and Ronald worked with others to put together over a thousand dollars for Gil, so almost a year later she reached out again to those who she knew would be there for her again. The couple took it upon themselves to put together the GoFundMe to help her on a bigger scale with a goal of $30,000 to cover Gil and her family at least until she can get back to work. 

She says the instant bars and events are able to resume, she will be right back to work feeding the people she misses.

When asked by L.A. Taco about how she feels about the amount of donations so far, she fought back tears expressing how heartwarming not only the donations have been but also the comments she’s been shown on Facebook. Rodriguez says when they all saw the initial amount raised, “We spent about half an hour on the phone crying with her.” 

“Thank you to everyone who has reached out with their love and support,” Gil said. “I miss seeing everybody and your words of support and donations mean the world to me. In the name of my family, thank you for everything.” 

While she felt desperate, Gil says she never lost faith someone would reach out to help her. She says the instant bars and events are able to resume, she will be right back to work feeding the people she misses. They’re still hoping to meet their goal with every dollar counting to help save Rosy but they believe the goal will ultimately be met. Ronald says, “We’re taking this into our hands, we know the community will be there for her.”

“Even though Rosy is not LGBTQ, she is a part of our community,” Victor Rodriguez said. “She not only fed our people but fed us with love…She’s a wonderful person and we want her around.”

Find her GoFundMe here.

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