Prince George’s County nonprofit offers $200 gift card to qualified laid off workers during COVID-19 pandemic 

Many people across the D.C region may have experienced the tedious task of filing for unemployment during the COVID-19 pandemic and are probably waiting for their checks to arrive, but the nonprofit group known as Employ Prince George’s is offering some money as a temporary relief to those who need it the most.

Anyone who has been laid off and is making $19 an hour or less will qualify for this help.

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On Friday, a line of cars in the parking lot of American Job Center in Largo was an indication that the there is a great need for relief.

The organization dispersed a $200 gift card to those who applied for the money on the website, That money comes from the ‘Prince George’s County COVID-19 hourly employee relief fund.’

Walter Simmons, president and CEO, said this is only available to help fill the gap between a resident’s last paycheck and their first government assistance.

This is not part of the ‘Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act’’ or the ‘CARES Act,’ rather, it’s a local effort—which has raised nearly $500,000 in the last few weeks.

The temporary relief program includes money for regular employees and 1099-contractors but even if a resident earns more than $19 an hour and was laid off, they will most likely qualify.

“$200, if you pay bills may not be a lot but it helps,” said Karene Winfield. “Anything helps especially if you are not getting any kind of income. It helps to buy groceries and I have a one-year-old for example and her birthday is coming up so I can at least use some of the funds.”

“At the end of the day it’s just about me and my son and whatever we need to do to get through,” said Angela Leak. “I would just suggest that if you need help go get help and it’s not a pride thing it’s a matter of survival.”

FOX 5’s Ayesha Khan also spoke with, Letta Carroll of Temple Hills about how she filed for unemployment in Maryland and that even though the signing up and filing was a tedious task, she advises anyone to just be patient because for her, it’s finally paying off.

“The minute I got laid off, I filed the next day,” said Carroll who was laid off March 23.

“I didn’t wait. I did it first thing in the morning because the day I did get laid off I couldn’t even get in the system but the next day I jumped on it and then a week later, I received a letter that everything went through and then another week before I received a debit card.”

Simmons said that the organization will be dispersing $20,000 to $30,000 every week during the pandemic or for as long as the funds will last. That’s why they are asking for public donations to help keep up the temporary relief funding. 

Volunteers will not choose the same location twice for cash hand out, so check the organization’s website for location updates.