David was a table game dealer in an Atlantic City casino for ten years when he found out, without warning, that the casinos were going to close indefinitely due to the pandemic.
“We had no idea how long we would be out of work,” he told us. “I was worried about my bills. How was I supposed to support my family? We’ve got a mortgage; we’ve got food to put on the table and other things to pay for. I didn’t know what was going to happen next.”
David lives in a multi-generational household. His parents, who immigrated from the Philippines, are also table game dealers who have worked in the casinos for thirty years. They were furloughed for several months beginning last March but have since gotten back to work. His brother and sister-in-law are students.
With his own livelihood still on hold, he relies on his extended unemployment benefits and food from CFBNJ to help keep the household afloat and to keep up with payments on his student loan debt.
Since last March, he has come to every large-scale distribution hosted by CFBNJ’s Egg Harbor Township location. He recalls the very first one at Harbor Square Mall: “It was so packed. The lines were so long. They went back miles and miles.”
Now, at Bader Field in clear view of the Atlantic City skyline slowly coming back to life, David tells us that he and his family have been grateful to receive the dairy, meats, fresh produce, nonperishables, and even a Thanksgiving turkey, that the FoodBank has provided over the past fifteen months.
“The Community FoodBank of New Jersey has helped us and countless people. It helps the whole entire community, not just myself,” he said.