Donations pour in after single mom’s lost food stamp plight

DEO mistake sparks Make Ends Meet record, 117,000 views on YouTube

MELBOURNE, Fla. – When Nicole Finn blamed the Department of Economic Opportunity for a mistake that cut her weekly food stamps to $16, the News 6 community responded with a wave of generosity.

According to News 6 Make Ends Meet’s partner Addition Financial, 30 viewers offered donations from a few dollars to $500 and in fact, one donation came from a family in Houston, Texas.

Linh Dang, chief development officer for Addition Financial, said the previous record for the number of viewers who donated to a featured family in need was “five or six.”

“They have this warm heart,” Dang said. “People helping people and that’s the best kind of compassion.”

Finn had been waiting for her unemployment benefits for nearly 13 weeks and was forced to wait in free food lines to feed her two children.

During a Zoom interview this week, she said she never expected the amazing public response.

“I just want to cry,” Finn said. “From the bottom of my heart, I’m so appreciative and grateful.”

The News 6 report featuring the Melbourne family’s plight exploded on YouTube with more 117,000 views along with views on ClickOrlando.com .

The report also caught the attention of the DEO and staffers quickly confirmed an error in calculating Finn’s work history that allowed the agency to release more than $1,000 in unemployment benefits.

“It seems so much has been done within the past few days, it’s incredible,” Finn said.

Finn used the funds to pay her back rent from May. She plans to pay off June and July with the help of News 6 viewers.

The day after the Zoom interview with News 6, Finn sent an email writing in part: “Today my heart feels a huge relief and it’s all thanks to you.”

She enclosed the photo at the top of this story and said: “This is how my children feel today.”

If you would like to help Finn and her children or you have an unemployment issue send an email to makendsmeet@wkmg.com

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