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Unemployed Philadelphians Are A 'Nervous Wreck' As Unemployment Money From Federal Stimulus Set To Expire

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- For so many people right now, money is tight and buying essentials like food has become a challenge during the pandemic. At FDR Park in South Philadelphia, a line of people who are unemployed waited to pick up boxes with free groceries. That's because many are anticipating hard times ahead.

Boxes of food are being loaded into the cars of people who are unemployed here at FDR Park on Wednesday.

"It means we can eat," Kevin English said.

English was laid off from his hotel job in Center City in March.

He's among hundreds of others here worried about his financial future because $600 a week in extra unemployment money from the federal stimulus expiries in a few days. 

"I'm a nervous wreck," Samantha Spector, of Frankford, said. "With the $600, it wasn't exactly what I was making but it helped out."

This food drive is hosted by Philly Unite Here, a union that represents thousands of workers in the city.

Over in Germantown, free grab-and-go meals were also offered to people Wednesday by the offices of City Councilmember Cindy Bass and State Sen. Sharif Street -- scenes we could be seeing more of.

"Us giving out meals is helping people eat," said George Stevenson, Constituent Services Representative for Councilmember Bass.

Tough economic times for those who are unemployed are about to get tougher.

In Washington, the Senate still hasn't agreed on a new stimulus plan.

"The unemployment benefit exceeds what people earn working and that's a very bad policy," said U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey.

A study from Becker Friedman Institute for Economics at the University of Chicago backs up that claim, which is why many Republicans, like Toomey, believed the extra unemployment problematic in many cases.

Democrats like U.S. Sen. Bob Casey say state unemployment benefits alone are not enough for those out of work due to the pandemic.  

"The idea that you're going to take away those unemployment benefits makes no sense," said Sen. Casey.

Kat Payne is a single mother from West Oak Lane. She was laid off back in March from her job as a housekeeper at the Marriott in Center City.

"There are hard workers that are eager to go back to work, to be productive in society," Payne said.

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