Gov. Tom Wolf stopped by a local food bank on Tuesday, drawing attention to the many people across the state helping to feed families during the coronavirus pandemic.
York Daily Record
Lupita Canseco had been working for the cleaning service for about a year when COVID-19 came to town in March.
Like a lot of others, she was laid off.
For a variety of reasons, she said, she didn’t qualify for unemployment insurance and had to scrape by to make ends meet and pay her $300-a-month rent on her York City apartment. Without work, she feared she would lose her apartment.
Lupita Canseco was laid off from her job in March because of COVID and tried to make ends meeting selling her homemade food to friends and neighbors. (Photo: Submitted)
She made some money on the side selling food to her friends and neighbors. Canseco, 47, had learned to cook from her mama in Mexico and made tamales, tacos and enchiladas. She recalled learning to make tortillas by hand from her mother, even grinding the corn herself. She described her food as “very flavorful.”
That helped, but it wasn’t enough.
She was having trouble making her rent and feared that she would lose her home. She was depressed and stressed and didn’t know how she was going to be able to navigate the future. It didn’t look good. Businesses had closed down and there was no work to be found. Others were reluctant to hire her, as an immigrant and a transgender person. She said she faced a lot of discrimination.
She is a member of CASA, a Latino advocacy and social-services organization, and knew that it helped people in her situation. She was able to get her rent paid through the end of the year, thanks mostly to grants from the York County Community Foundation’s COVID-19 Relief Fund to CASA for rent relief.
CASA has been in the forefront of providing assistance to the Latino and immigrant community during the pandemic. Yasmin Viera, the organization’s director of development, wrote in an email that its members “have been particularly hard hit by both job loss and job retention” during the pandemic.
“Like many, Latinos and immigrants have been hard hit by job loss due to COVID and a large portion are ineligible for unemployment benefits or stimulus checks because of their immigration status,” Viera wrote. “The flip side is that many Latinos have also been kept on the job as essential workers frequently with inadequate protection from COVID. In York County, a number of infections, for example, were tied to a turkey processing plant with a largely Latino workforce.”
Canseco said she knows a lot of people, a lot of her friends, who have been affected by COVID, whether it’s losing jobs or getting sick after being exposed to the virus at work.
Getting through the end of the year is Canseco’s short-term goal. About two weeks ago, she began a new job at a package delivery company, scanning packages to prepare them for delivery. Her hours are reduced, and she isn’t making the kind of money she made in the past.
As she looks forward and reads the news about the burgeoning pandemic, she worries that everything is going to close down again.
But she is hopeful.
She hopes that, perhaps, she can make a living cooking and selling her homemade food.
Christmas Emergency Fund helps pandemic victims keep a home for the holidays — and beyond
Each holiday season, the York Daily Record offers readers the opportunity to help our community through the Christmas Emergency Fund.
With the COVID-19 pandemic still raging, this year’s fund is dedicated to eviction prevention, to help people keep their homes for the holidays — and beyond. The economic fallout from the pandemic has disproportionately affected low-income folks, people of color, the Latinx community and those in the hospitality industry.
Many people need help to pay rent, so the York Daily Record is teaming with the York County COVID-19 Response Fund to raise money specifically earmarked for eviction prevention via these nonprofits: Community Progress Council, CASA, New Hope Ministries and the Salvation Army.
York Traditions Bank and the York County Community Foundation are partnering with us to collect and disburse donations – all free of charge so every penny goes to help local folks.
Please consider giving generously. Checks can be mailed to: YDR Christmas Emergency Fund C/O York Traditions Bank, 226 Pauline Drive, York, PA 17402-0136.
To donate online, visit: https://tinyurl.com/yxrpowcw
Columnist/reporter Mike Argento has been a Daily Record staffer since 1982. Reach him at 717-771-2046 or at [email protected]
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