Countless families stand in line hoping to get food in Chelsea

CHELSEA, Mass. — Hundreds and hundreds of families were standing in line to get food Friday morning in front of Chelsea City Hall. The food was handed out by the Salvation Army, MEMA and the National Guard. Close to 10,000 meals were delivered.

“It’s been really hard. I haven’t been working in a month” said Kimberly Hernandez of Chelsea. The 22-year-old woman told Boston 25 News she is the sole provider for her mom and brother.

“I’m the one with the ‘steady job,’ so it’s been really hard during this time,” said Hernandez.

Hernandez was working at a Dunkin Donuts in Chelsea and recently lost her job because of the pandemic.

She, along with countless families, waited in line for hours outside of Chelsea’s City Hall hoping to get food. Chicken, canned and frozen foods were handed out. The line was wrapped around the block, as far as the eye can see.

We asked her how she’s been getting food. “This,” she said. “Anywhere that says they are offering food.” She says she ran out of her savings, and they are just trying to put food on the table at this point.

Chelsea has been hit hard by the pandemic. Chelsea had over 700 cases reported and close to 40 people have died. Chelsea is best described as Queens, NY, the epicenter of the outbreak. A large part of it is due to the densely settled community, where there are a large number of people in one household. Many of the workers are also considered essential, where they have to go to work.

“People are saying, we can’t get food,” said Chris Farrand who is the spokesperson for the Salvation Army.

He says people that he never thought would ask have been coming to them for help.

“This reminds me of when I go to Puerto Rico after Maria. You realize there is this need, and there is this need. It’s growing and it’s epic,” said Farrand.

“It’s a struggle to get food. And when you get it, there is none there. It’s been a struggle” said Mary Cushman who lives in Chelsea. The 55-year-old said, now that the Small Business Administration officially ran out of money for the paycheck protection program, she is forced to turn to food banks.

Another woman we spoke with said, “My dad does Uber. Since this pandemic, it’s been really bad." The family of three says they were lucky enough to even get some frozen foods Friday.

Others in line told us they are lucky even if they get one meal a day. They have been sharing food, living in tight corridors. They just want this pandemic to be over so they can get back to their lives, and hopefully find a job soon.

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