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Struggling Families Get Help, But Will it Be Enough After the Pandemic Ends?

One Family LA is helping families struggling to buy food, but the group worries that the financial impacts of the pandemic will last a lot longer than any other effect.

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Every day, a South LA family struggles to get by, after the coronavirus pandemic resulted in lost jobs, and higher grocery prices.  

“I notice they worry a lot about the bills, not being able to pay those,” said Evelyn Amaral, a high school senior. “They stack up on each other and then not being able to recover from the debt we’ll possibly get into.”

Evelyn is a high school senior and said her dad is the only one working. He’s a landscaper who’s lost a lot of work because of the pandemic. While she said her parents try to hide their worry, she and her four siblings know what’s going on.

Jorge Valdivia says the pain of losing his brother is made worse knowing the 52-year-old died alone and due to Chicago's stay-at-home order, he must now mourn his brother alone, apart from his parents.

“The prices for the items in the stores are actually rising and it’s making it harder for families like mine who only has one provider,” Evelyn said. 

That’s when an organization called One Family LA stepped in last week to help.

“This is a result of people coming together the week after schools were shut down because we knew that’s where the first wave of unemployment was coming and we could foresee the hardships for many of the families,” Ana Ponce, of One Family LA said. 

One Family LA is a coalition of 25 community groups using donations to keep families afloat. In a month they’ve helped 200 families. They expect that to be 500 by the end of this week.

But Ponce said that’s “just scratching the surface at this time” of all the families that need help.

For the Amaral family, $200 from the One Family LA fund went a long way, especially considering there are so many more meals the family has to worry about with everyone staying at home.

While the stay-at-home order remains, there’s worry struggling families could become part of the new norm when this is all over.

“The pandemic of poverty is probably going to have longer consequences than the COVID-19 pandemic,” Ponce said.

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