Coronavirus Response Fund Aids Local Cook
April 21, 2020, by Tami
Latonia Thibodeaux didn’t expect April to look like this. A steady job at an up and coming restaurant and two daughters finishing up high school, she was looking forward to a spring filled with smiles and celebration.
COVID-19 and statewide stay-at-home orders turned everything on its head, however, when her boss announced he couldn’t afford payroll and would need to let staff go. “I was like, ‘Oh my God. I can’t even afford to pay my rent.’”
While scrambling to make a plan, she received a Facebook message promoting the United Way of Southwest Louisiana’s Coronavirus Response Fund.
Initially, Latonia hesitated to reach out knowing assistance was only available on a one-time basis, if she even qualified. She’d previously reached out to another non-profit who said she wasn’t eligible for assistance as she wasn’t yet evicted. And another agency said they could only put her on a waiting list for utilities with no definitive answers or deadlines in sight.
“I was like, ‘Wow. Okay, what I’m supposed to do?’” she said.
Latonia decided to call United Way and see if they too operated under the same complicated conditions. The experience was the complete opposite, she said.
“It was fast. They answered, sent the application through my email and responded within a couple of days.”
The Coronavirus Response Fund was able to cover Latonia’s rent and lights, giving her time to focus on helping her daughters as they navigate the next phase of their lives.
“It took a big relief. Like for real. A huge relief off my chest.”
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