VIA ECONOMICS AND INFECTION, LATINOS HIT HARDEST BY PANDEMIC

The stimulus checks are being processed, and $350 billion has been loaned to small businesses. But for many Hispanics who worked low end jobs in the service industry, the future seems a bit fuzzy during the coronavirus crisis. Most hotels and restaurants remain closed, and good luck trying to apply for unemployment. The websites and phone lines are jammed.

So the struggle has come down to combating hunger, which is why food banks and soup kitchens from Los Angeles to San Diego and across the southwest have attracted mile long lines. In San Antonio, cars lined up at the Alamodome for nearly eight hours waiting to receive fruit, veggies, canned goods and a bit of chicken or beef. Officials estimated that around 10,000 families were served.

“It’s hard when your kids ask you what’s for dinner, and you’re not sure what to tell them,” explained one motorist patiently waiting.

Latino’s however, face a two-pronged problem. Texas Governor Greg Abbott would like to gradually open up his state for business again, even though the possibility of a second wave of the virus exists. Why? Because Texas ranks 49th in the country per capita in testing, largely due to a lack in availability of kits in the poorer border region. In New York, where numerous family members often reside in the same crowded household, Hispanics account for 34% of COVID deaths. That is 10% more than the overall population they represent. And in Florida, the mayor of Jacksonville has reopened several beaches this weekend to the delight of residents and visitors. Further south in Dade county, Miami mayor Francis Suarez, himself a coronavirus victim, has resisted the temptation of beckoning tourists to South Beach. Again, the lack of testing is problematic, and the population of Miami is 70% Hispanic. Not worth the risk.

Folks who need a helping hand with meals should be in touch with Feeding America Food Banks in the community where you live. Here are a few locations in the areas we cover…St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance, Phoenix, Az 602 242-3663; Community Food Bank, Tucson, Az 520 622-0525; Yuma Community Food Bank, Yuma, Az 928 343-1243; Second Harvest, Irvine, Ca 949 653-2900; LA Regional Food Bank, Los Angeles, Ca 323 234-3030; Feeding America, Riverside, Ca 951 359-4757; Feeding San Diego, Ca 858 452-3663; Food Bank of the Rockies, Denver, Co 303 371-9250; Roadrunner Food Bank, Albuquerque, NM 505 247-2052; Three Square Food Bank, Las Vegas, NV 702 644-3663; Coastal Bend Food Bank, Corpus Christi, Tx 361 887-6291; El Pasoans Fighting Hunger. El Paso, Tx 915 298-0353; Houston Food Bank, Houston, Tx 713 223-3700; South Texas Food Bank, Laredo, Tx 956 726-3120; Food Bank of Rio Grande, Pharr, Tx 956 682-8101; San Antonio Food Bank, San Antonio, Tx 210 337-3663.

Be safe, everyone. We’ll get through this together!

About Steve Randel

Former amateur baseball scout in Latin America and current high school coach. International sports and current events journalist for 42 years.

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