(NEW YORK) — When a California businessman saw a story about a single mother from across the United States having difficulty navigating the novel coronavirus pandemic with her six children, he stepped in to help.
In an effort to highlight working-class wage workers — many of whom are among the first to feel the financial impact of the ongoing public health crisis — ABC’s Tamron Hall connected Johanna, a mother of six from Dover, New Jersey who wished to be identified by only her first name, with Mark Miller, who saw Johanna’s story on an ABC News “20/20” special about the pandemic.
Hall first visited Johanna, a nurse and full-time student, on Monday. Johanna told Hall that with schools temporarily closed due to the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, her biggest concern “is with the homeschooling” of her kids. She said her family only had two laptops — her own and one belonging to one of her daughers — and that they’d have to be shared among the other children during schooling hours.
“I can’t have all five of them with one or two laptops,” she said, noting that she would have to prioritize who gets the laptops while also trying to do her own homework. “I had to do mine during the night, while I was working, while they’re asleep.”
After seeing her story, Miller reached out to ABC with a plan to help alleviate some of Johanna’s challenges.
“It was an instinct I just wanted to figure out a way to help,” said Miller, who said he was also one of six kids and that he could empathize with Johanna’s situation after seeing his own mom manage their family.
On Wednesday, Miller and Johanna spoke to each other for the first time through Skype with ABC News, where and he told her that he’d bought laptops for all her children who don’t have one and send them to her.
“Oh I am so thankful,” Johanna said. “Now they can all sit on a table and do their work together. They don’t have to be alternating and doing work so late at night. That will also help me, too, because I can work with them and do my homework, too.”
“It’s a big weight off for me right now. One less thing I can stress about and I’m very thankful for his generosity,” Johanna said of Miller.
Miller also had a message for others who find themselves in a position to share their resources and generosity during a time like this.
“What it really comes down to is being able to take one situation and help,” he said, “and if everybody looked at it that way — [if they] could take one situation to make it better — it just multiplies.”
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