Bronx mom’s struggle to feed family on son's birthday touches chord with many

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NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — The story of a Bronx mother struggling to feed her family during the pandemic has struck a chord with many.

After hearing the plight of Erielkina Pizarro, local food program Bronx Works has been fielding calls from people who want to help the single mom celebrate her son’s birthday this weekend.

The story began with a CBS News report on the difficult economic issues that minority communities are facing because of the coronavirus.

Correspondent Mark Stassmann’s report highlighted Pizarro’s personal plight.

Strassmann learned that Pizarro is a single mother to three young sons, all of whom have special needs, and relies solely on the food bank to feed them. One of her son’s birthday is Saturday, and she says she was heartbroken to tell him that they could not afford a special dinner or cake for him.

“I tell them that I don't have a job: ‘Mommy is not working; mommy cannot bring food to the table,’” she told CBS News.

Pizarro normally works two jobs to support her three kids. Her grandfather used to look after her children so she could work, but after he died in May, she said she can't work until she can find a babysitter.

"I cannot just throw my kid at my grandma. She's 77 years old. There's no way," said Pizarro, who has been relying on food banks to get by and had just over $40 to her name.

After the report aired on WCBS 880 on Friday morning, dozens of people reached out to the station asking how they could help.

Sharon Sherman, known as "The Cake Lady," decided to bake Pizarro's son a birthday cake after hearing the family's story on the radio.

"I definitely put myself in her shoes, I can't exactly, but I tried and I just figured, you know, helping is a nice thing to do," said Sherman, who owns a bakery in Orange County. "When I heard that they couldn't have a birthday cake, that was it, as a baker I felt compelled to help."

Sherman who has seen hard times in the past, offered some encouraging words, saying, "Difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations."

WCBS 880 anchor Lynda Lopez reached out to Bronx Works, who reported that several bakers heard the story and are delivering cakes and cupcakes for the boy’s birthday.

One of our generous listeners is also bringing pizza to the family Saturday afternoon.

If you would like to help others in need of food and donations, you can do so by visiting BronxWorks.org.

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