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Parents fight for holiday traditions during job loss, pandemic

Weekly $600 payments for unemployed ending sooner than expected
Posted at 5:30 PM, Nov 18, 2020

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The holidays bring different meanings to many different people, but for some Kansas City residents, they'll be navigating the holidays against a backdrop of a pandemic and unemployment.

Kansas City, Missouri, resident Crystal Kent is one of those still without a job.

"It’s hard," Kent said. "It makes me stressed."

Kent says it makes her sad to think she won't be able to give her five kids, ranging in age from 1 to 13, the same kind of Chrismas as she did last year.

"Trying to keep sanity together I guess," she said.

Kent says she's been juggling finances since she was laid off from her job in March. She's found a way to make sure there will still be presents under the Christmas tree this year, even if it means there might not be as many.

"The bare minimum," Kent said. "If you’re going to buy something, let's just stick with what they need instead of what they’re wanting because it helps us with supplying them with clothes."

Kent is not alone in facing the realities forced by the holiday season like no other.

"This year, Christmas is going to be very slim because money is not coming in like it normally comes in," Abraham Wesley said.

Wesley also lost his job in March. He's been getting by thanks in part to some savings he built up.

"It's a tough decision to make to have to put restrictions on your loved ones because you don’t want to go broke and you don’t want to be homeless," Wesley said.

41 Action News spoke to Rick Krapes, a financial representative for Country Financial about the advice he's giving those who are trying to make ends meet.

"Lowering expenses, look at your current must pay bills, things like insurance maybe you can talk to your agent about new quotes or review your coverage," Krapes said.

Krapes says its important for people in tricky financial situations to prioritize how they spend their money, from rent or mortgage, to food and utilities. Another key? Ask for help.

"If you have loans, talk to community resources," he suggests. "Kansas City has wonderful resources through churches and a variety of nonprofits you may find support that you didn’t know possible."

Krapes says one of the biggest mistakes is people not keeping their health insurance as the flu season approaches and COVID-19 cases continue to spike,

"They think health insurance is too expensive for them so they drop coverage," Krapes said. "Then something bad happens and they are in a really bad spot."

For more financial advice, click here.

The Rebound Kansas City is our effort is to help metro residents play a role in moving our community forward. We would love to hear your thoughts and ideas to via email to rebound@kshb.com and we welcome you to join in the conversation on the Rebound KC Facebook Group.

Whether you're Getting Back to Work after a layoff, need help Making Ends Meet during these trying times or need tips on Managing the Pressure we're all feeling, The Rebound has resources to find help. We'll also make sure local leaders are Doing What's Right to get Kansas City back track after a three-month shutdown.

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