GoFundMe sharing a family story every day until Congress approves COVID-19 relief

GoFundMe is sharing stories of one family a day until Congress approves a COVID-19 relief bill.

The crowdfunding platform has proved a helpful resource to thousands of U.S. families suffering from COVID-19 lockdowns and healthcare challenges, who can raise money on the website to help their businesses survive restrictions or help their family members pay hospital bills.

"Our message is simple: As Congress continues to negotiate, we urge lawmakers to stay focused on the countless families struggling to get by," GoFundMe Senior Director of Communications Bobby Whithorne wrote in a Wednesday blog post. "This is an urgent crisis and it’s time to act."

The platform will be adding stories of families and people struggling to make ends meet on the blog post and on its social media accounts until Congress takes significant action.

"At GoFundMe, we see the devastating impact of the economic crisis playing out in real-time," Whitmore said. "We see countless stories of families — through no fault of their own — struggling to make ends meet because they were laid off, their hours were cut, or because they lost loved ones to the pandemic."

So far, GoFundMe has shared the stories of two families and one person.

The Brown family, consisting of two parents and three children, "needs urgent help before utilities get shut off" since the father, an independent contractor, has been unable to meet payments due to the slow pace of his job caused by COVID-19.

The Gathers family, consisting of a father and his two daughters, need help paying rent since the father has not been able to work due to the pandemic.

"I am the dad of two girls age [four] and [five] named Leah and Tessa," Robert Gathers wrote on a GoFundMe page. "Since March, I haven't been able to work due to the [p]andemic and need help paying back rent from March to now and bills because of this. I can't return to work because I need to be home with my kids and also can't risk getting [COVID-19]."

Ed Alcoff, a Navy veteran, has been underemployed for nine months "due to [COVID-19] and has exhausted his savings and now finds himself unemployed and in significant debt just trying to make ends meet," someone representing Alcoff wrote on GoFundMe.

"He has reached out to [Veterans Affairs] looking for housing assistance but nothing has come through. Ed is very close to becoming a homeless veteran," the post reads. "Ed served full-time on active duty in the Navy for 12 years and was highly decorated. While in the service, he completed his BS in Business and his MBA, both while working full-time."

More than 850,000 Americans filed for first-time unemployment claims for the week ending Dec. 5 -- nearly four times higher than pre-crisis levels and higher than initial expectations, according to data from the U.S. Department of Labor. Approximately 69 million Americans, or 40% of the country's workforce, have filed jobless claims since the pandemic came to the U.S.

COVID-19 cases also continue to surge with more than 15.5 million positive cases recorded so far and more than 290,000 deaths.

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