If you lost your job, how long before food insecurity is in your cupboards?
The title of Rick Karlin’s piece in the Albany Times Union says it all: Coronavirus’ cost hits sector workers hard.
The article highlights the many ripple effects of the Coronavirus. Many of those effects are here already: are you social distancing? Working from home? How’s your child’s school?
Other effects include what the article talks about which is that fewer people moving about and spending money means fewer workers needed. The article starts off profiling a woman who has already been laid off from her work with a car service company.
We can hope that workers who are laid off will get back to work soon, that companies faced with letting people go can manage to stay afloat. It’s made more bearable if people are able to rely on savings or family networks to tide them over until better times. But what if they are among the ‘working poor’? People who work hard, but their paychecks barely make ends meet. For people like that, even a small blip can mean the difference between relative security and disaster.
Unity House knows this well since many of the families we see in our food pantry, thrift store, or free meal program are in just those shoes: they work, sometimes at more than one job, but are still faced with painful spending trade-offs like choosing between paying the rent or filling the cupboards. That’s why services at Unity House, which are free, are lifelines. As Chris Burke, Unity House CEO says in the article, the ripple effects of coronovirus means, “You’re talking about another massive increase in the need for food assistance.”
What Can Be Done
Help make needed services available for people in need. At Unity House, our response to the current challenge has been to modify our services so that people can still get help with life’s essentials. Instead of a choice model in our food pantry, where guests choose food from our shelves, we’ve moved to an appointment-based system where guests choose from a menu of items to receive groceries packed by staff. Is this more work for everyone? Yes. Does it create more barriers for the most vulnerable? Yes, which we are working to address.
You can understand the many challenges. You understand that the needs will increase while delivery will be more challenging, especially in the next few weeks.
Please consider making a gift today in support of Unity House’s valuable services. You can do so here, in our secure portal.