“I’ve never had to actually do this,” he said, after a pantry worker hefted a box of food into the trunk of the car he was riding in. “But I’ve got to do what I’ve got to do for my kids.”
With coronavirus-related job losses, many workers are reluctantly seeking charity and unemployment benefits for the first time in their lives.
In St. Louis Park, Minn., Scott Theusch, 61, a mechanic, filed for unemployment benefits for the first time, becoming one of the record-shattering 3.3 million people who made claims across the country in one week. He set aside his deeply felt conviction that people who had to seek the aid, which is largely funded by payroll taxes on employers, weren’t trying hard enough. “There really isn’t any option for people,” Mr. Theusch said. “They’re told not to show up for work, so what do you do?”
In Los Angeles, Samantha Pasaye, a 29-year-old nail technician, pleaded for donations on Instagram after the salon where she worked shut its doors. The request made her mother cry. “I’m not someone who asks for help,” Ms. Pasaye said. “I do everything by myself. But at this moment, I needed to put my pride aside.”
Another new Dallas food-bank client, Adedyo Codrington, a trade-show worker and union steward, filed for unemployment as soon as his jobs were canceled on March 8. But the first check would not arrive in time.So Mr. Codrington, a 41-year-old father of two, went to the food bank, only to learn its supplies had run out. Humiliated, he tried again last week, arriving early. But people were already lined up around the block by then, and he left with a lone bag of green beans. Colleagues scrounged together $100 for him, but it is nearly gone, and he is down to eating just one meal a day, living off sugar water and what he calls “wish sandwiches” — two slices of bread with imaginary filling.
“To go from making $1,500 to $2,000 a week,” he said, “to be reduced to this.”Even with America’s long tradition of giving, from immigrant-aid groups begun by religious organizations in the 19th century to the politically polarizing social welfare programs born in the 20th, rugged individualism has remained a defining feature of the national identity. Perhaps no class of worker is more lionized today than the start-up tech entrepreneur.
“A lot of people in the United States are very proud of feeling self-sufficient and independent,”Alice Fothergill, a professor of sociology at the University of Vermont who has studied the human effects of natural disasters. “This is something that is definitely going to be very, very difficult.”
She said that people who feel ashamed about seeking help are often the ones who need it the most. In one study of women who had endured devastating floods in North Dakota, she found that working-class and middle-class women were the ones who despaired most about needing public assistance, because of a fear of a loss of status. They did not want to be seen as poor. They also engaged in techniques to make it clear — to themselves and others — that they were accepting charity reluctantly, such as offering to pay for donated items and refusing to refer to their government-supplied trailers as “home.”
Mr. Greenfield, of New York’s Met Council, said the scores of people approaching his charity for the first time are roundly apologetic: “They’re saying: ‘I’m sorry but can you help me? I’m sorry but I need food, I’m sorry but I need rent, I’m sorry but I need help.’”
For people of some means, deciding whether to file for benefits also involves second-guessing. Does the fact that others are in greater need mean that they should not apply, even if they are qualified?Kirk DeWindt, 36, a personal trainer from Brooklyn Park, Minn. and
a three-time contestant on “The Bachelor”television franchise, saw his business come to a halt after all in-person sessions had to be canceled. He has some savings, so when his mother urged him to apply for unemployment benefits, Mr. DeWindt hesitated.
“I’m in a more privileged situation than I would assume most that are filing,” he said. “So what do you do with that?” He decided he would file.The anonymity of the internet has helped some charity-seekers get over any shame, with restaurant and other business owners setting up online fund-raising campaigns that keep their workers’ names private. On GoFundMe, some $120 million has been donated for campaigns related to the pandemic since the first week in March, a spokeswoman said. By comparison, that is more than four times as much as campaigns for the Australian wildfires raised in three months.
But unlike natural disasters, the pandemic has hit a far greater swath of people hard, making it difficult for some to gin up help. And some campaigns have fallen short.In Phoenix, Raven Green, a 28-year-old single mother of two young girls, turned to GoFundMe after losing all three of her jobs — bartending, promotional work and singing gigs — in less than a week.
Ms. Green was terrified. She had a few days’ worth of groceries but her car payment had wiped her out, and she wasn’t sure she qualified for benefits. Sheset up a GoFundMe pageseeking $1,500 but, abashed at having to ask for help, couldn’t bring herself to share it on social media. “I don’t want people to know that I’m struggling like this,” she said. As of Tuesday afternoon, the campaign had no donations.
(After this article appeared online Tuesday evening, she quickly raised double her original goal. “Bless you all!” she wrote to her donors.)The abrupt change in circumstances may perhaps be toughest for people who reordered their whole lives around the American dream: immigrants.
, 48, a filmmaker and actor in Beverly Hills who left Romania at age 21, said, “the idea of welfare from a communist country was quite natural to me.”“When I came to America,” he said, “I never thought I would need it.”He was wrestling with the idea of filing for unemployment after all his work screeched to a halt. Then he considered the stack of bills he faced. “There was a certain embarrassment and I got over it quick thinking about my son,” he said.
Ernst Virgile, 38, moved from Haiti with his wife in 2012, determined to work tirelessly. He held two jobs at the Fort Lauderdale airport, as a wheelchair attendant and in international arrivals customer support, and she worked in concessions. They saved painstakingly for a house, and bought one last year, where they are raising their three children, ages 7, 5 and 2. They were stunned when they both lost their jobs in March, and bereft.
Mr. Virgile’s wife wept at the prospect of having to ask the bank to put their mortgage payments on hold. Mr. Virgile is still trying to figure out how to apply for food stamps and unemployment benefits, and fears seeking out food banks because of possible virus exposure.
They had never before needed such assistance, and both, he said, are devastated.“We’re not used to it,” Mr. Virgile said. “We knew before we got here that we had to work hard, very hard, to live the American dream. But we have to file unemployment. We have no choice. There’s nothing we can do.”
Christina Capecchi, Marina Trahan Martinez and Adam Popescu contributed reporting.Answers to Your Frequently Asked Questions Read more: The New York Times »
They can thank Dems for expanded benefits FaceTheNation Dear Maga, You didn’t care when he bragged about grabbing pussies cause it wasn’t yours. You didn’t care when he caged Hispanic babies because you’re not Hispanic. Now that he has crashed your 401k and botched a pandemic response that’s entered your community, do you care now?
FaceTheNation Democratic Socialism and kindness is what America in part was built upon. The only shame is denying this historical truth. So basically what you're saying is that toxic internal shame cancels our ability to allow suffering with dignity or maybe just with a sandwich? And 'laziness' is not responsible for our permanent class of poor hungry people.
caraNYT It’s only just begun. This is happenig after 1 week of restrictions in US. If enough people have to do it, It won't be a question of pride, because there'll no longer be any shame attached to being unemployed. Yup AngelaKrebs444 There ought to be a test for benefits that includes the question 'did you vote for Trump or the GOP' with the response 'if you did, this is socialism and you don't get any'
Trump: Fake news more like lockdown related job losses When people are too hungry, they pick up guns because people have the freedom to live Redmeheart Illegal aliens do it all the time. Life will make you. A month at home to sit, will begin to apply. At least some sort of compensation. It would be better for the government to transfer the benefits themselves
life goes on for some time u have to depend on other its life don't make it complicated live and let live life They wouldn’t be republicans.. they’re anti socialism so they’re going to die on their feet. As the MSM pushes fear, panic and hate for our President. Real helpful. everyhumanknows I volunteered at a soup kitchen for yrs. Thier there for people who need help and we all need help sometime in life. Do what you have to do for your family. God Bless You.
maggieNYT Nobody does until they do, which is the entire point behind our social safety net system, butt I digress 🙄 Dear republitards please doas normal go outduring easter w trump also you do not need medicine or a vaccine as that is standard issue w you ignorant cow pattysmelling ignorant arses do not rely on us educated liberals making you cure as always science&logic hasnoplaceinyourworld
I volunteer at a pantry. No shame in asking for help. Bullsh!t if you are from the south or a republitard you have and always have suckled americas milk rich tit. American pride my ars. I show pride by working hard and being accountable while you trash who have two legs and hands sit and enjoy the welfare checks i pay my taxes for.
Nothing wrong with taking aid in ANY circumstances when you're paid $7.25/hr & not given benefits. There should NEVER be a 'pride' barrier between a social safety net and the society it serves! Such ideologies are as dangerous as bad policy (and they reproduce them, too!) Dear Christian, Muslim & Hindu Brothers and Sisters, We're not worth to pray to GOD, ALLAH & SHIV resp. We've become worthless because of Smoking, Alcohol, Drug, PORN, Premarital Sex & Extramarital Affairs. We're unable to fight Coronavirus because our A/C of blessings is ZERO.
No savings at all? India.मैं देश के लोगों से अपील करूंगा कि हम फंड के अंदर कोरोना फंड के अंदर आप अपना योगदान दें। अल्लाह ने मुझे पैसा नहीं दिया। अगर मेरे पास होता तो मैं सबसे पहले इस फंड के अंदर अपना योगदान देता।.Faizabbasiajmer.BBCHindi narendramodi Don't worry maggieNYT Fake news Nothing wrong with taking help in times like this .
Good morning We will all stay at home. And all world will win of corona Because trump is such a power greedy evil liar that he refuses to issue a statewide shelter in!! The states governors that refuse to do this should pay!
American Airlines seeking up to $12 billion from aid package: memoAmerican Airlines Holdings Inc intends to apply for up to $12 billion in government aid, ensuring no involuntary layoffs or pay cuts in the next six months, executives said in a memo to employees on Monday. AA should ask for $2T package so the congress would make its request be humble with $12B. Don't kill AA because I have few tons of millages. I voted “NO”!
When Does Pornography Use Become Problematic?People's judgment that their porn use is a problem isn't based on how much time they spend watching or what they watch, but on this. I feel porn and sex addiction would only be more common for someone who has battled other addictions and is replacing one thing with another or when the finances are struggling due to subscriptions, escorts, breakdown of relationships.... there’s a feeling of ‘something to hide’. Our society brainwashed people making them believe nonsense. People can watch violent movies all day long and it is not an addiction. God is what you see him be (Psalm 18:25-26). I agree with society until they come to a public debate on existence and life on earth. I agree with this professor. If watching people making love is bad, watching them killing each other should be an abomination. Humans have just found a good reason not to walk on the ground of justice, love, and peace; and keep promoting violence, division, and hatred.
Congress puts aside its habitual dysfunction and responds to covid-19The fiscal stimulus is impressive, but America may need another one before too long Oh, THAT congress.
Why These Two Vogue Editors Work From Home in JeansSure, they may not be as cozy as sweatpants or your bathrobe, but there are tricks and tips to finding denim that are comfortable.
Put Politics Aside. It’s Time to Buy Stocks for the Long Run.Investors who can stay in the market for a decade should buy now, diversify, and not worry about finding a bottom. Plus: Testing out the arguments behind... barronsonline barronsonline Lol barronsonline giving sell signals since 1929 dowfutures barronsonline Why buy now... when you can buy a lot cheaper in a few months
American Airlines to apply for up to $12 billion in government aid: memoAmerican Airlines Holdings Inc intends to apply for up to $12 billion government aid, ensuring no involuntary layoffs or pay cuts in the next six months, executives said in a memo to employees on Monday. Greedy Bastards