NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KTRE) - Sitting idle isn’t easy for Tracy Jackson. After 5 years working for Aramark at SFA, the cook was suddenly laid off when the students she serves were told to stay home. With the rent due in a couple of days she’s thankful for Love In the Name of Christ. It set up a relief fund for displaced workers.
“That will make me a step ahead where I can try to support myself a little bit more than unemployment. That might just be enough with the help they have given me."
Jackson represents a growing number of employees who are mostly service workers and suddenly laid off or furloughed. The businesses where they work are temporarily closed to slow down the spread of coronavirus.
Love INC’s director Patti Goodrum asked the community to create the displaced workers’ fund just over a week ago. Generosity is allowing the fund balance to grow.
“Twenty thousand [dollars] has come through the mail and in the PayPal account strictly from individuals in the community,” said Goodrum.
Mike Lee, a farmer, is among the contributors.
"I know for the people it's hard for them to ask for assistance, but when you can't pay your rent and you can't make your house note the Lord has blessed people being able to give, to be able to help you and that's what Love INC wants to do," said Lee.
In Angelina County, United Way is distributing $30,000 of its emergency relief fund, above and beyond the allocated funding, to requesting agency members, according to Chris Caraway, the United Way, Angelina County president.
"Because I don't think we know what we don't know yet about what this is going to look like, so we're trying to be proactive and be ahead of the game knowing our agencies will need additional funding," explained Caraway.
At Love INC Nacogdoches employers who send in their workers' names shorten the review process. The stack of applications grows. No one knows how long the assistance can be offered.
Tracy Jackson was told by her employer it will be at least 5 months before she can return to work.
“This is a tragic time in our lives,” said Jackson. “We don’t know what’s to come, but we do have help right now at this moment.”