Single Milwaukee mom worries about Christmas for daughter as she waits for unemployment pay

Posted at 7:10 AM, Dec 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-18 14:56:44-05

MILWAUKEE — Single mom, Melissa Velasquez, lost her job working as a logistics coordinator for Waste Management in September.

That same month, she applied for unemployment benefits. When the I-Team interviewed her in early December, she was still waiting for the money to come in -- that waiting is getting harder with Christmas coming soon.

"Christmas I'm really stressed out. I am stressed out immensely about it," said Velasquez.

Velasquez has a four-year-old daughter and a baby on the way. Without a paycheck coming in or her unemployment pay, she's not in a position to buy presents.

"I can't even buy my daughter a Christmas gift at this point. I mean literally nothing. I have nothing at this point," she said.

Velasquez said she can barely pay rent, her cell phone bill, or her WiFi. She needs basic items like diapers and wipes, but she can't afford them.

"I could find another job working in person somewhere, but who would take care of my child during her online learning? I mean my parents are deceased. I don't have a back-up plan when it comes to my kid. I'm a full-time mom," she said.

Nicki MacMillan of Lake Geneva was in a similar spot.

"There wasn't anyone to go to or anyone to turn to," MacMillan said.

After seven months of waiting for her benefits, the single mom of two received about $20,000 of her pay.

Her advice to anyone in a tough spot? Fight for what is rightfully yours.

"Keep fighting. I know it is so detrimental -- physically, mentally, emotionally, in every aspect. You deserve it, keep going. Absolutely," MacMillan said.

For information on resources offering help to those struggling this holiday season, click here.

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