Sunday: Tulsa woman sells tamales to begin citizenship path
BY NOUR HABIB World Scene Writer
Saturday, January 26, 2013
Almost every weekend since November, Veruska Hernandez has made tamales in the back of an east Tulsa restaurant that is owned by a friend of a friend.
But because Hernandez has a full-time job, and because the restaurant’s owner lets her use the space only after normal business hours, Hernandez usually does not start work till about midnight, at times finishing as late as 5 a.m.
Hernandez got a food handler’s license and began selling her tamales after a friend, Stephanie Lewis, suggested that it would be a good business.
Lewis knew Hernandez was saving money to apply to become a permanent resident — she needs about $3,000 for paperwork and attorney fees — and thought that it would be a good way for the single mom to get some extra cash.
Hernandez, who submitted her application a couple of weeks ago, is now only $400 short of the amount she needs to pay off by Friday. The extra money has helped because, as a single mom working as a housekeeper at a local apartment complex, $3,000 is hard to set aside.
Lewis has known Hernandez for seven years. She recalls times when Hernandez would take on side jobs, like baby-sitting, to help support herself and her daughter.
“She’s been a real hard worker,” Lewis said.
Lewis hopes that hard work will pay off for Hernandez. She has been helping Hernandez market her tamales on Facebook and letting people pick up their orders at her house.
“We kind of adopted the situation,” said Lewis, who hopes that Hernandez will not only be able to earn the fees she needs to pay for her paperwork, but also build a clientele that will allow her to get a food truck.
Read more in Sunday's World.
Veruska Hernandez (right), who is in the process of obtaining her U.S. citizenship, stands with her daughter Oriana Torrealba, 9. Hernandez, a native of Venezuela, is selling tamales to pay for her application to become a permanent resident. CORY YOUNG/Tulsa World