Don’t let fancy cars deceive you, says activist about poverty during coronavirus pandemic

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Alana Wortsman has always worked in the nonprofit sector. She has experience with March of Dimes, the American Cancer Society and Feeding South Florida. It all prepared her to help people in need during the coronavirus pandemic.

The business development manager at Jack & Jill Children’s Center, an organization aiming to break the cycle of poverty by helping children and their families, has been working hard to distribute free food at drive-through events.

Alana Wortsman (Local 10 News)

On March 25th, Wortsman was working outside of the Jack & Jill Children’s Center in Fort Lauderdale. She said there was fresh produce, chicken, oranges, lettuce and more. She was back in action on Wednesday at the Salvation Army in Fort Lauderdale.

“You might see people driving up in expensive cars, but please do not judge a book by its cover because you do not know what those people are going through,” Wortsman said.

The demand was so high, organizers decided to open an hour earlier than planned. The long line snaked out to Southwest Ninth Avenue. This time there was also pork, eggs and fresh fruits and vegetables.

“Many individuals here in South Florida live paycheck-to-paycheck, rely on free and reduced meals at the school system and now all those resources are wiped clean," Wortsman said.

Bob Salomatoff was waiting in line. He said he lost his job remodeling homes. Epidemiologists have advised that isolation is best to avoid COVID-19, the highly contagious respiratory illness caused by the new coronavirus. Allowing workers to remodel a home isn’t an option.

“Everything helps, as you imagine, at this time, you know, trying times and everything,” Salomatoff said, adding he was grateful for the event.

For more information about how to join Wortsman’s effort, visit the Jack & Jill Center’s site.

Here is a list of areas in Broward County with a high percentage of families estimated to be suffering from poverty:

Franklin Park: 89%

Washington Park: 81%

Lauderdale Lakes: 76%

Roosevelt Gardens: 72%

Here is a list of areas in Miami-Dade County with a high percentage of families estimated to be suffering from poverty:

Medley: 88%

Opa-locka: 88%

Brownsville: 87%

Florida City: 84%

Gladeview: 84%

Naranja: 81%

Goulds: 79%

Hialeah: 78%

Pinewood: 78%

Leisure City: 76%

Westview: 76%

West Little River: 72%

Sweetwater: 72%

North Miami: 71%

North Miami Beach: 70%

Golden Glades: 70%

Miami: 70% - The city includes the areas of Little Haiti, Little Havana, Liberty City, Overtown and Allapattah.

Source: United Way of Florida’s Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed Report

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