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Economy Doing Well, But Many San Diego Families Still Need Holiday Help

Economy Doing Well But Many San Diego Families Still Need Holiday Help

The holiday season is a time for gift giving, but not for all of us. Many San Diegans living paycheck-to-paycheck have a hard choice to make: buy food, pay the rent or buy presents for their children.

Richard Barrera from the San Diego Labor Council said, for many families, presents are out of the question.

“There are hundreds of thousands of families in our community that don't earn anywhere near enough to pay the basic costs of living in San Diego,” Barrera said.

In a press release Friday the California Employment Development Department said San Diego County has 1.5 million employable people in it and only 76,000 are unemployed. That's an unemployment rate of 4.8 percent.

Barrera said that number doesn’t paint a complete picture.

“Let's say a typical family of four, to be able to pay housing costs, pay for food, transportation, child care, just the basics, that’s probably upwards of $60,000 a year,” Barrera said.

The United Way’s Carol Kim said the economy is improving but many paychecks haven't.

“While some incomes are increasing at the top of the scale the middle class and the lower-class, the working class, haven’t seen that kind of growth,” Kim said.

This year the nonprofit passed out toys and food to 600 working families, up 20 percent from last year.

Angel Roy from the Salvation Army said even they are feeling the pinch.

“Donations came in a little slower this year,” Roy said.

The Salvation Army is short thousands of toys for its annual giveaway.

“(Being) 10,000 toys short across the entire county is going to affect a lot of families this year,” Roy said.

But Roy said those who did give are sending an important message.

“I think it’s a chance for those people in those kinds of situations to see that they’re surrounded by a community that care,” Roy said.