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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Millions of Americans filed for unemployment since the beginning of the pandemic in the U.S. The thought of supporting a family without pay is troubling during these unprecedented times.

A lot of us can relate

Manufacturing workers say they received an unexpected gift this month, on top of federal stimulus checks hitting accounts this week.

Andrea Harper didn’t know whether she’d have a job this time last month.

“We were all facing uncertainty with the coronavirus outbreak,” said Redline Steel laser operator Andrea Harper.

She can’t afford a missed paycheck.

“I recently became a single mother last July and I’ve got a 12-year-old daughter and a 9-year-old autistic son.”

But the unexpected does happen

Like many other families, Andrea said, “I’ve struggled. I’ve lived paycheck to paycheck.”

She can work this month and know that rent is pretty much covered because her boss paid $20,000 dollars to cover the mortgage payments and rent for her and her co-workers.

The surprise

“Not only was he paying our rent for the month of April, but he was going to continue to pay us if there was an event of us having to shut down,” said Andrea.

Only a few declined the offer.

For Andrea, making it means getting ahead.

She said, “I paid next month’s so I could stay ahead and not fall behind. Like I said, it’s been a struggle and I don’t want to be in that situation ever again.”

Filing for unemployment

The Alabama Department of Labor accepted 230,000 unemployment applications within the past month. Job or no job – Andrea has some peace of mind.

“Don’t give up,” said Andrea. “If someone like me can get through it anybody can.”

Manufacturing plants like Redline Steel are hiring workers. For families still out of work, you can file for unemployment on the state’s website.