MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – Many Miami-Dade County residents, who are just a paycheck away from not making ends meet, say they are already struggling to put food on the table. Local non-profit organizations are losing donations and volunteers say they are feeling overwhelmed.
On Friday, there were hundreds of people lining up in their cars and waiting for hours at a temporary Farm Share distribution center at Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church in the Goulds neighborhood. They were picking up packages of free food that included milk, oranges, bread and water.
Barbara Banks was waiting in line for hours, but she wasn’t there for herself. She said she was there for someone who is vulnerable to COVID-19, the respiratory illness that as of Friday night has killed 10 people in Florida.
“She is an elderly lady so I’m taking it for her,” Banks said.
For Nakisha Ellis, going to the food distribution site was a matter of safety.
“I’m just kind of like terrified at this moment because I don’t know what’s really going on," Ellis said. “Everybody is so aggressive right now."
POVERTY IN BROWARD COUNTY
In Fort Lauderdale, the Jack and Jill Children’s Center and Feeding South Florida are working together to fill the gap for families with children.
“It’s really important that they’re getting the essential nutrients that they need even when the doors are closed at schools,” said Alana Wortsman, of the Jack and Jill Children’s Center.
It’s unclear how long schools will be closed and if the supply chain disruptions will continue as authorities move to contain the pandemic.
Many hourly-employees are losing their income as public health officials work with authorities to implement mitigation strategies that include shutting down the tourism industry. Economists believe the impact will result in a recession.
Lindsey Bell, chief investment strategist at Ally Invest, told The Associated Press the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are happening at the same time a multitude of factors is pulling oil prices lower.
“This is kind of a double-whammy for the economy,” Bell said.
Investors, local officials and workers are waiting for the federal government’s $1 trillion aid package. President Donald Trump has promised his administration will start distributing checks for those in need soon.
Mason Jackson, the chief executive officer of CareerSource Broward, said he is asking employers to hold on to their staff.
“Many times businesses look at their employees as a cost to be minimized, when they should be looking at them as the only appreciating asset they have, so do whatever it takes,” Jackson said. “Use the tools that are out there: Like the short term compensation program.”
People are losing their jobs & their small business.— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) March 21, 2020
And all we hear about is how much some huge company is going to get or about fights over the proper name for the virus.
Can we please focus on getting cash to these small businesses so they pay their workers again. pic.twitter.com/UJOw4QGLDp
Career Source in Broward County is also urging people who are out of work to apply for unemployment benefits immediately. Click here to apply for benefits.
Local 10 News Reporters' notes on COVID-19 response in South Florida