Disconnected Families Struggle To Get By During Pandemic

You really don't know how much a donated bag of groceries means to someone until you see their gratitude firsthand.

While most of us have been struggling with finding toilet paper and setting up Zoom calls during the shelter-in-place order, the coronavirus pandemic is pushing some Bay Area families to the brink.

They’re the ones with no Internet or safety net at all.

Pulling up in front of a run down, two-story, six-unit apartment complex on the old Alameda naval base with bags of donated groceries is like being the ice cream truck. Everyone comes running.

It’s a lifeline for Sandra Rios, disabled with limited mobility.

Her 17-year-old pushed her down to the local food bank, but it was closed.

Rios’ wheelchair is broken and she has no transportation, no job, no help with her four kids and no Internet.

Rios told KCBS Radio her family has nothing and can’t go anywhere.

"It’s really tough and it’s scary and now the next thing is to wash clothes," Rios said. "We used everything on supplies to get for cleaning, so now we’re stuck in the middle of the month with no money to wash our clothes. When you try and go ask people for help, nobody wants to help."

Rios said it’s embarrassing to keep asking for help, so they’re washing their clothes in the bathtub.

Her neighbor, Amber Luke, is always asking her kids’ teachers for help, mostly on how to work old donated laptops for their lessons.

"We learned one way, so they’re learning another way and I can’t teach them that way because I don’t know that way," Luke said. "You have to know that way during the tests and things like that, so it’s really frustrating. So I definitely reach out to the teachers."