(Reuters) – Sylvia Padilla spent last Thursday checking food pantries in Lubbock, Texas for groceries to feed herself, her daughter and three-year-old grandson.
Some places were closed, others had nothing available. Outside the shuttered St. John’s United Methodist Church, Padilla, 50, recounted her struggle to survive during the economic disaster that the novel coronavirus pandemic had dumped upon her, choking words out through tears of fear and frustration.
“This is like a nightmare I can’t wake up from,” Padilla said, resting her face in her hands. “It really feels like a nightmare, but it’s our reality.”
Like many Americans, Padilla is barely getting by and says she desperately needs government help. She received a $1,200 check in April from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act passed by the U.S. Congress and signed by President Donald Trump on March 27.
The check helped her pay back rent she owed and she and others are hoping that lawmakers and the Trump administration can reach accord soon on another relief package after months of disagreements.
“We’ve got some potatoes and beans at home. A bit of flour for tortillas. We’re just trying to make that stretch,” said Padilla, whose business selling food to construction workers ended with the pandemic and her daughter last month lost her job in retail sales.
“A new stimulus check would really mean the world to me right now.”
After March’s shutdowns to curb the spread of the virus, unemployment in the United States shot to levels here not seen since the Great Depression. Many jobs returned as parts of the economy reopened, and consumer spending rebounded, thanks in part to the $2.2 trillion stimulus