ORLANDO, Fla. – The coronavirus pandemic has forced many people to be out of work for months, and now the federal help, where the unemployed were receiving 600 dollars a week, is set to expire at the end of this month.
What You Need To Know
- Many tourism workers still out of work
- Weekly federal unemployment benefit set to expire at end of the month
- Local union held food drive Saturday to help struggling workers
Many people across Central Florida are still in need of assistance as the tourism industry gets back on track.
Hundreds of cars lined up on La Quinta Road bright and early Saturday as unemployed Floridians sought help. Unemployed restaurant and hotel workers had their cars loaded with food and milk.
UNITE HERE local 737, the union representing these workers, hosted a food drive to help those in need.
“We have the $600 unemployment running out, so people are really afraid so there is a long line out of our office, really long line,” Unite Here Local 737 President Jeremy Haicken said.
Angela Ramirez is a housekeeper at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort and has been out of work for several months. She’s trying to provide for her three kids and doesn’t know what she going to do if that federal funding stops.
“I need to pay bills, the mortgage, I don’t know how, no more money,” Ramirez said.
Charissa Ward, a server at Disney who still has not been called back to work, is trying to take of her three kids during the pandemic.
“It’s a crazy time so for them to feel security and normalcy in a time that’s not normal, that’s my goal is the sure that they feel that way,” Ward said.
She said that federal funding has helped in doing that, but if it expires.
“I am super worried,” Ward said.
Ward said it will be extremely difficult to rely just on state funding.
“Two hundred and 75 dollars, that’s barely paying electric bill and food, let alone paying my mortgage and every other expense that I have,” she said.
Unite Here local 737 members are reaching out to Senator Rick Scott and Marco Rubio’s office trying to get an extension for federal help. Senator Scott’s office sent us a statement saying he is looking at every option to help those who have lost their jobs.
“There is me and whole a lot of others that going to suffer that if 600 dollars is taken away,” Ward said.
As thousands wait for help, the union also plans to hold a caravan on Wednesday to let their voices be heard.