Letter: What are we doing for our essential workers?

(Eric Gay | AP file photo) Lighted rooms at the Marriott River Walk form a heart to honor medical workers and other essential workers, in downtown San Antonio, Wednesday, April 22, 2020.

I am a proud worker for the Women, Infants and Children nutrition program. With additional funding provided by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, the program is providing a critical service by supporting pregnant women and mothers with young children who have lost their jobs due to coronavirus.

But helping to support families suffering from hunger due to this crisis means that I am potentially exposing myself and my family to the virus. This has led to immense stress.

I am one of the lucky ones. My child care program is still open, and I just found out that I will get an additional two weeks of paid leave to use if one of my family members is affected. But I know this isn’t the case for so many essential workers.

I also worry that, like so many other local businesses, my child care center, working now under hazardous conditions, will be forced to close and unable to reopen once this is all over. Workers, who make up the backbone of our economy, are doing everything we can to keep programs and services like WIC, Medicaid, child care and grocery stores running.

Things are changing so quickly, it’s hard to keep track. We all have questions about what coronavirus will mean for ourselves, our families and our communities.

But the biggest question I have is for my representatives in Washington, Sens. Mike Lee and Mitt Romney, and Rep. John Curtis: What are you doing to ensure essential workers and their families can not only make it through this crisis, but have what we need to work and care for our families, including child care, on the other end?

Juliane Ribeiro, Orem

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