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Mother of four sees starvation as bigger threat than COVID-19

The Nassau Guardian April 15, 2020

Taylor Ferguson

Two weeks. That’s how long Jada Miller, 29, says she can cope without an income.

“It is emotionally and physically draining,” Miller told The Nassau Guardian.

With four children all under 10, she sits at home fretting over the basics.

“How the hell am I going to make it? Will I still have a job when this is over?” she worries.

Like many others, Miller hasn’t worked since a national curfew was imposed nearly a month ago as part of efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19.

Before all this, she was a part-time housekeeper in Freeport.

Now, she spends her days in fear that she won’t be able to keep food on the table.

“I don’t get paid while this is going on so finding money and food is so hard,” she said.

She added, “The government needs to help with that or somebody needs to help with that because I don’t know what to do.”

On Monday, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis announced in a national address the government will appoint a Food Security Task Force to ensure that every resident in need is provided with adequate food.

For this mother, accessing social assistance is critical to survival. She said she is desperate for a safety net, but can’t get to it.

“I haven’t been anywhere and I haven’t gotten anything,” Miller said.

She explained, “The lines are too long and I have kids and no one to keep them, so I am home with them.”

Miller lives in a home with three other adults, only one of whom is still working, but she said that small income isn’t helping her or her children.

“She isn’t making enough to even buy grocery,” she cried, “so that is still falling on me. It was always my job to buy grocery and make sure there was food in the house.”

Caring for her children during this time also means taking on an unfamiliar and daunting role – educator.

It’s something Miller said she finds extremely difficult considering she is not equipped.

“What if I haven’t finished school?” she asked. “I don’t know what to teach them. I am one of those people; I can’t teach my children something I don’t fully understand myself.”

While many are fearful of being infected with coronavirus, Miller said it’s honestly the least of her worries “because you just trying to figure out how you are going to make it for the rest of the month”.

Having just survived Hurricane Dorian in 2019, Miller said her family was saving to fix the roof on their house.

Since the coronavirus outbreak, those resources have been reassigned.

“All the money we were using for the roof now goes on this,” she said. “So, hurricane season is about to start and the roof still isn’t fixed.”

Miller said this virus is another monster storm “except this time we have no idea when it will pass us”.

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