We met with a group of Hispanic immigrant families who are all part of the Alterna Project in LaGrange Tuesday night. They live in a cluster of homes on Jefferson Street here as part of a “housing co-op.” Social justice advocate, and former La Grange College professor, Anton Flores bought these homes and has entered into a cooperative agreement with the immigrant families. Flores has structured it so these families are paying for these homes basically at cost. Flores told me what motivates him is “Christian love…” This evening our family heard a tremendously poignant story from a family who came to La Grange some 10 years ago. Farm working jobs had dried up in Vera Cruz, Mexico, and the family had moved to crowded Mexico City for work. The father began working for a distribution company and was making a mere $50 a week. They lived in one room, not much larger than the size of a typical American storage shed. His salary was just enough to make rent and food each month in Mexico. He had a wife and a six-year-old son. They were desperately trapped in a poverty loop, with seemingly “no way to get ahead.” And they lived in an area infested with drugs, violence and gangs. “We were continually afraid to go outside on the street,” the wife said. There were regular robberies, homicides, child abductions… They were torn. While the family didn’t want to leave their extended family, their homeland, their culture… “Besides the danger, we weren’t even able to afford shoes for our child,” said the mother. They decided to come here where the father got a job as a house painter and eventually started making enough to “get ahead a bit.” They also had another child and are quite involved with the Alterna community now. “Here there is safety for our children — and they never go without shoes,” the mother added, a tear coming to her eye.