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Coronavirus Economic Fallout: Thousands Wait In Line For Food In Chelsea

CHELSEA (CBS) - The line of people waiting to pick up food from the Chelsea Collaborative stretches around the block. This is the new reality for many families in a community hit especially hard by the coronavirus crisis. Chelsea has the highest infection rate in the commonwealth, with more than 900 cases, and 54 deaths.

Gladys Vega is the executive director for the collaborative, and says six weeks ago, the line was a few hundred people, and now, "we've been feeding 1,300 people every other day," Vega said. "The need is huge."

The food is donated from various providers around the city, and the food given to people is on top of what schools, the city and National Guard have been handing out in recent weeks. But it may not be enough.

It's estimated that 80% of the 45,000 residents work in the service industry which has been severely impacted by coronavirus. "We have to think about 30,000 people that are unemployed, not working, both husband and wife have lost her job," said Vega, "and children at home eating everything."

The collaborative opened Tuesday at 3:45 in the afternoon. Within an hour of opening, volunteers had served more than 900 people. By 7:30 that night, they had lost count, and estimated more than 2,500 people picked up food for the week.

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