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Luz Villafana's picture

With great joy and excitement I am preparing my home for the Thanksgiving holiday. I am thankful for countless blessings.

My son David and his family will be here. My sisters and their husbands will join us to celebrate.

While I go through my shopping list, my mind races to the images of people, who due to unemployment, will be standing in line to apply for food stamps and other benefits provided by San Diego County Family Resource Centers. There will be parents with their children in tow waiting long hours to have their paperwork processed. I wonder if they will have something to eat when they go home? I wonder if their children have pain in their bellies due to hunger and if that is the reason they are crying while they wait?

These families had never thought that they would end up in these offices. Their unemployment benefits are not enough to pay for their basic living expenses. November 30th is quickly approaching. I feel their anxiety.

Many years ago, I was in their shoes. Thanksgiving was a few days away and I didn't know if my sons and I would have a basic Thanksgiving meal.

I'm urging our elected officials in Washington D.C. and our state capitols to extend unemployment insurance for the millions of families that are depending on these benefits for survival. Let’s leave partisan politics aside and take care of our brothers and sisters that have lost their jobs. Let’s give them the dignity of providing their families the basic necessities. They have lost so much already.

Most importantly, let’s sit at our tables on Thanksgiving Day to thank God for the blessings we have received this year, but also know that we have spoken up for our unemployed neighbors, and that our elected officials have heard our united voices, and acted promptly to pass another extension of unemployment insurance.

Luz Villafana is a mom, grandmother and retired eligibility officer for MediCal in San Diego County, California.

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