Millions of Americans have taken a major financial hit since the COVID-19 pandemic began.
Those affected by the economic downturn have been left to wonder how they’ll pay their bills.
It’s an anxiety becoming very real for some U.S. service members.
“I lost my job. I was afraid I wasn’t going to be able to pay all my bills,” Alisha Scott said, “And plus I’m in school, so it got pretty stressful.”
Scott is a reserve member of the Ohio National Guard, and because she hasn’t been activated to serve during the pandemic, that source of income isn’t coming.
Rick DeChant of the Northeast Ohio Foundation For Patriotism (NEOPAT) said it’s a growing, urgent problem in Northeast Ohio.
“We’re specifically seeing members of the reserve community, our part-time soldiers,” DeChant said, “So they’re not getting their part-time military pay and then they’ve also lost their civilian job or they’ve been laid off.”
Scott is a kitchen cook and found herself in that very situation.
She’s currently searching for a new job after Governor Mike DeWine ordered all restaurants and bars to close back in March.
Since the coronavirus crisis began, NEOPAT has helped dozens of Northeast Ohio military families keep food on the table.
“Household goods, food, water. We have a lot of young families,” DeChant said, “Diapers, child food, first aid supplies, hygiene.”
The foundation has also paid rent and utilities for some service members.
“They helped me pay for my car insurance and my car note, which were the biggest bills I had at the time,” Scott said, “So they helped me out tremendously. They don’t even know. I’m super grateful.”
DeChant, a veteran himself, said it’s a privilege to serve those who put their lives on the line to serve our country.
“It’s a debt we owe them and we’re going to make good on that promise that we’re going to take care of them,” DeChant said.
To support Ohio service members in need, visit the organization’s website here.