ORLANDO, Fla. - Out-of-work hospitality workers started lining up at five o'clock in the morning Saturday for free food.
“We're really affected by this. The hotels, restaurants, all of this. So we are, our jobs from March or February, so we are suffering to get any help,” said Jose Cisternas, who was there early in the morning.
As the sun rose, more and more cars joined the line until it reached back to the intersection and beyond. The workers said they were grateful for the hand-out.
“It's great, man,” said Newton Price, an out-of-work Disney worker, “in the time of this pandemic, it's an excellent procedure.”
“I think it's great,” agreed Geraldina Beltran, “it's great that they try to help these people.”
Unite Here, one of the largest unions representing Disney workers organized the giveaway. “We have milk, fruits, today we have meat, rice in packets, cookies, cereal, beans,” listed Sarah Vergara, an unemployed Disney worker and volunteer at the event.
It was the eleventh consecutive weekend they'd been handing out this food. The union represents some 19,000 hospitality workers. They say only about 7,000 of them had found jobs again.
“There's nowhere else to get money,” explained Jeremy Haicken, from Unite Here Local 737, “when the hospitality industry shut down, there's no place you can get a job. How many people can go apply at Target or Walmart? There's only so many other jobs.”
This was all happening on the weekend that federal unemployment benefits expire. Volunteers said they needed the money. “There's bills to pay, mortgage to pay, food to put on the table, two kids that she has. Nobody's gonna take care of that, either. Seems like nobody cares either, anyways,” Vergara said, referring to her daughter.
A GoFundMe account has been set up to help keep the food bank stocked in order to help those in need. You can donate HERE.
Senate Republicans are scheduled to unveil their new plan to extend federal unemployment benefits next week.