The pandemic has put immeasurable stress on families, especially low-income folks. Unemployment levels skyrocketed, and hit hardest those that were already struggling to make ends meet.
At Arm In Arm, we’ve been meeting the needs of a record number of clients that have been affected by this pandemic. We want to share the stories of two hardworking, single women who have struggled during this pandemic to take care of themselves and their families. Arm In Arm has walked with these women, and many others, throughout this pandemic, supporting them in their need for housing and food. When we work together, we can ensure that these women, and folks like them, have access to their most basic needs, so that they have one less thing to worry about in these unprecedented times.
J is only 23 years old. Until March, she was living in East Windsor, working as a health aide, making barely enough to get by. But towards the end of March, J was laid off due to COVID. She applied for unemployment immediately, but two months later, her application was still pending, despite numerous attempts to get in contact with an agent.
Around the time J was laid off, her mother had to leave the country, and J took in her teenage sister.
J went back to work in late May, and has since received her first paycheck. But two months with two mouths to feed, rent to pay, and no income took a toll on her. So, she reached out to Arm In Arm.
Our team at Arm In Arm was able to provide J with rent through June, so that she can focus on taking care of herself, her sister, and her clients.
L was laid off during the pandemic, but was called back to a workplace with numerous positive COVID diagnoses.
She is a single mother to a three year old boy, and a participant in our Still Standing program, which supports single women to meet the needs of their families while moving toward self-sufficiency.
When L started feeling poorly, she was initially diagnosed with a sinus infection, but soon started displaying other symptoms of the virus. She lost her sense of taste entirely, and developed a headache. Only then was she able to test for the virus, and she was quickly diagnosed with COVID.
When she was sent home from the ER, L had to quarantine herself from her toddler, who didn’t understand why he couldn’t be held by “Mommy.”
Though L is feeling better, she has not yet returned to work. Because she received her diagnosis at the ER and not through her primary care doctor, she is unable to prove her diagnosis to her employer, and therefore unable to receive any income during these already stressful times.
L has found herself in a precarious position: she must recover, take care of her son, and worry about her next paycheck all at the same time.
Thankfully, at Arm In Arm, we know L well, and were able to respond quickly to her needs. Our team immediately signed L’s family up for home food delivery. Now, L can focus on getting back to work, without worrying about how to put food on the table for her and her son.