When Berenice Pacheco lost her job in March, the single mom and her three young children moved into a shed in East Los Angeles.
“We didn’t have any other options,” Pacheco, 30, told TODAY Parents.
With no internet or table, Pacheco’s 8-year-old son, Aaron Moreno, struggled to complete his homework. The family showered outside and used the bathroom at a nearby restaurant. They slept in unbearably hot conditions.
“As a mother it broke my heart. I felt like I was failing my kids,” Pacheco revealed, noting that the COVID-19 epidemic made things even harder.
"The playground always made them happy, but then the playgrounds shut down," she said. "We were stuck in that shed."
Pacheco dreaded the sound of the food truck that seemed to pass through her neighborhood every afternoon. It sold Aaron’s favorite treat: Hot Cheetos topped with melted cheese.
“He wanted it so badly," Pacheco said. "But I needed to pay the phone bill and do the laundry."
One day, Pacheco half-jokingly suggested that Aaron start his own business so he could buy his own spicy snack. A determined Aaron sat down and began brainstorming.
“He came up with the idea to start selling plants,” Pacheco said, proudly.
Though Pacheco only had $12 in her pocket, she gave it all to Aaron.
“I told him to invest the money,” Pacheco recalled. Aaron got to work.
In March, he purchased eight miniature succulents for the $12. He set up a table outside the shed, sold each plant and made $16, a $4 profit. He kept investing in more plants and customers kept buying them, often tipping him. Today, the business-savvy first grader has a few hundred dollars saved up in the bank. Since launching his business, Aaron has also become an internet celebrity with more than 22,000 Instagram followers. Many have donated to a GoFundMe supporting Aaron's Garden, which has raised nearly $37,000.
With the money from the GoFundMe and Aaron's Garden, Pacheco and her children were able to move into a one-bedroom apartment earlier this month.
“We finally have our own kitchen. Aaron and his sister have a place to do homework,” Pacheco gushed to TODAY Parents. “It's not big but it feels huge to us."
At just 8-years-old, it's clear Aaron Moreno is going places.
As he wrote on Instagram, “My next job after having my own plant shop will be working for nike and making my own shoes and then I plan to go to the university so I can become a judge.”
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