LIMA — For months, Rachel has worked the frontlines of the coronavirus response, traveling between the nursing home where she works as a state-tested nursing assistant and other long-term care facilities where residents have fallen ill from COVID-19.
The work is exhausting and terrifying.
Rachel (not her real name) gave birth to her second child four months ago, returning to work soon after to support her young family while her boyfriend searches for work in an economy that is still struggling to recover from an ongoing pandemic.
Rachel now worries she may expose her 4-month-old son, who doctors once believed was blind due to severe scarring on his eyes, as well as her 9-year-old daughter and her boyfriend to a virus that has killed some of the residents she once cared for.
It’s all been enough to break anyone down, Rachel explained on a recent afternoon. The stress of working in healthcare amid a deadly pandemic; the pain of knowing several of her own friends and family members have fallen ill with the disease; the fear of exposing herself and ultimately her family; and the stress of trying to stay up with the bills after her boyfriend was denied unemployment at a time when “everyone’s trying to find the same job.”
“I’ve never had it, thank you Jesus — but I do have family and friends who have had it,” she said. “It’s scary working around it.”
But with the holidays fast approaching, Rachel pushes forward.
The family needs help with bills and groceries, like baby formula (Gerber), baby wipes and diapers (size 2) for her son. Her children need clothes too: Adult medium or youth 18 tops and bottoms for her daughter; 6-9 month clothing for her son.
And Rachel would like her kids to see some gifts under the tree, despite the challenges of supporting a family of four on one income during a pandemic and a recession. Her daughter enjoys crafts and LED-light toys, while her son will soon need a walker to learn to walk.