Atlantic City, New Jersey casino workers continue to turn to food banks while out of a job

ATLANTIC CITY, New Jersey (WPVI) -- The numbers of new unemployment claims are dropping in New Jersey, but still, more than 34,000 new claims were filed last week.

In New Jersey, 1.17 million people have applied for unemployment in the last10 weeks, according to the New Jersey Department of Labor.

Action News spoke to some of them in Atlantic City on Thursday.

Bags of food were loaded into carts that people brought to a food distribution event in, where the line stretched around the corner.

"It's a little rough you know because you miss your job. Everybody has a family," said Louis Rua, who worked at Resorts Casino and is currently on unemployment.

He has come to this food distribution on Fairmount Avenue several times in the last few weeks, as he and others wonder when they'll go back to work.

"You hear rumors but you really don't know. A lot of people say maybe August July? You never know," said Rua. "Sometimes, it's a lot of pressure. You're used to waking up every morning and going to work, bringing food to your family."

Workers in New Jersey's casinos, restaurants and retail continue to be among the hardest hit by the pandemic in the state.

According to the New Jersey Department of Labor, more than 911,000 workers have received unemployment benefits.

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Hundreds of Atlantic City casino workers got help on Wednesday from a food giveaway.

Officials say many of those who are still waiting have claims with complications or insufficient information.

"The staff continues its hard work to clear claims to ensure every New Jerseans who qualifies for unemployment benefits receives every single penny to which they are entitled," said Gov. Phil Murphy during Thursday's state briefing in Trenton.

Back at the food distribution, organizers say they have seen tremendous turnout for these events over the past 10 weeks.

"When the pandemic hit, our numbers used to be like 60. Once that happened, my number went to 250," said Friends in Action President Anthony Brower.

The group has added food giveaways in more neighborhoods, working with several area food banks to meet demand.


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