Families find other ways to get by holiday season as food banks see massive demand due to COVID-19

Everyone has been touched in 2020 by various events, including the ongoing and worsening COVID-19 pandemic.

For some, the pandemic has been a financial nightmare, and those who are young are doing what they can to help their families get by.

Eduardo, 16, has been playing the violin for five years.

"It’s everything in my family," said Eduardo. "Everyone plays an instrument, so it’s a tradition to play."

Nowadays, however, the reason why he's playing the violin has changed.

Eduardo's father and mother both lost their jobs, and said he is fiddling to raise money to help his family of Italian immigrants.

"We need money because of COVID. It’s tough right now. We should try everything so we can have money to pay the rent and buy food," said Eduardo.

Eduardo's mother, Violeta, is proud of her son.

"She said she couldn’t believe I’m doing this because I’m too young," said Eduardo. "She didn’t expect that."

Times are tough currently, as more than 200,000 are unemployed in Arizona, and tens of thousands more have had their hours cut.

"We just continue to have an onslaught of people in need of food during this time of year,’ said Tyson Nansel with United Food Bank.

The United Food Bank is distributing double the food than they ever have before.

The line was nearly three to four miles long. The wait was an hour and 30 minutes," said Nansel.

Smaller non-profits are just as busy filling the need. Marvin’s Mission in Glendale says twice the amount of people show up for their weekly meal.

"Some of them cry. They’re very appreciative," said Debbie Hartley with Marvin’s Mission.

Volunteers have shown up by the busloads, packing boxes and donating. They have to, as businesses and corporations have scaled back donations in 2020, a reality of where the world is at the moment.

Other people have stepped up, so that families like Eduardo’s can have the Christmas they dreamed of.

"God is helping us to get through," said Eduardo. "He’s always with us, so it’s not so difficult when you put your life in the hands of God."

Eduardo said he didn’t want to put a GoFundMe page out there or anything like that, as he just wanted to pay.

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COVID-19 symptoms

Symptoms for coronavirus COVID-19 include fever, coughing, and shortness of breath. These, of course, are similar to the common cold and flu. 

Expect a common cold to start out with a sore or scratchy throat, cough, runny and/or stuffy nose. Flu symptoms are more intense and usually come on suddenly, and can include a high fever. 

Symptoms of COVID-19 may appear more slowly. They usually include fever, a dry cough and noticeable shortness of breath, according to the World Health Organization. A minority of cases develop pneumonia, and the disease is especially worrisome for the elderly and those with other medical problems such as high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes or heart conditions.

RELATED: Is it the flu, a cold or COVID-19? Different viruses present similar symptoms

COVID-19 resources

CDC Website for COVID-19


https://espanol.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html (In Spanish/En Español)

AZDHS Website for COVID-19


https://www.azdhs.gov/preparedness/epidemiology-disease-control/infectious-disease-epidemiology/es/covid-19/index.php#novel-coronavirus-home (In Spanish/En Español)