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'The government knows that we are stuck' | Families want Congress to provide more support during pandemic

Parents struggling to help their children with virtual learning while still supporting their families financially say they're at a breaking point in the pandemic.

More than two million parents struggling through the pandemic are coming together to try and get more support for working families trying to do virtual learning and support their households.

A local family has joined the nonprofit called Parents Together, to try and get more support from the federal government for people who are struggling

"I'm a single parent trying to prevail, trying to make a living, trying to make ends meet," said Monique Simmons. 

She and her four children were doing alright before the pandemic hit. But when COVID-19 started shutting things down, her business got hit immediately. 

"I do hair so that business slowed down, the money slowed down," she said. 

She said she tried to file for unemployment, but could never get anyone on the phone. 

"I kept calling, kept calling, kept calling, I know the number, 233 times," she said. 

Then the schools shut down, and she struggled to teach all four of her children from home. 

"It was hard. They only wanted to give out one device per household until they found out that other people needed devices to make it succeed," she said. 

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She lives in Crisp County, where they do have the option to go back in person, but Simmons said she would have had to sign a waiver releasing the district from any liability if her kids got sick. It just seemed like too big of a risk, she described.

"When that was presented to me, I just did virtual learning, I didn't care how hard it was going to be," she said. 

She joined up with the group Parents Together because she thinks the federal government should be doing more to support families like hers who are struggling. 

"The government knows that we are stuck between a rock and a hard place, but everything is being controlled by a dollar. But I don't like that because you have families out here really in need. You have families out here who really depend on their jobs," she said. 

She said Parents Together has made her feel less alone during a time that's been really isolating. 

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"Child care isn't what it used to be, you can't drop your kid off and go to work. People don't want to do that anymore because they don't know who has COVID-19, they don't know who is infected, they don't want to bring people in their house," she said. 

Simmons joined the virtual community to get support but also to try and elevate her voice. 

They want Congress to step in and offer more relief to families who are struggling and to be more transparent with how the pandemic has affected working families.