Unemployed Florida mom gets surprise Mother’s Day gift from News 6 viewer

Story of furloughed Panama City restaurant server inspires financial lifeline

PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. – Gloria Skinner has a saying that captures the struggle unemployed families have endured during the COVID-19 pandemic: “We just have to get on the other side of this.”

The veteran banker saw the story of Vivian Cribbs, an unemployed restaurant server in Panama City, and decided it was her turn to pay it forward.

“We’re all in this against this virus," she said. "When we are facing catastrophe, that’s when we’re at our best.”

[MORE: 8 weeks later, single mom still waiting for first unemployment check | News 6 debuts Make Ends Meet initiative to provide budget guidance for viewers]

After the story aired, nearly one dozen News 6 viewers sent funds to Cribbs’ PayPal account, in payments ranging from $50 to $1,500.

The single mother of two said she was overwhelmed by the generosity.

“It really gives me hope that there’s a world out there that cares," Cribbs said. “God always likes to come in at the very last minute and do something huge.”

With bills mounting and the state’s Department of Economic Opportunity website showing her unemployment application status as “pending” for the past eight weeks, Cribbs went public to expose the DEO’s failure.

“I’m not the only one going through this,” she said. “ I wrote the governor but he didn’t respond.”

[RELATED: Florida reveals numbers of unemployment benefit claims, payments]

News 6 set up a meeting on Zoom between Skinner, Cribbs and her 6-year-old daughter Shelby.

Skinner told Cribbs she was sending her a generous amount of money but asked that News 6 not report the exact amount.

“You have no idea how much this will help. God bless you," Cribbs said. "You really have to thank WKMG and Mike (Holfeld). They get results. They are all about community.”

If you would like to help someone like Vivian Cribbs or you have a story you would like to share, email News 6 investigator Mike Holfeld at mholfeld@wkmg.com.

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