A family of seven was forced to live in a tent on their friend’s lawn due to the pandemic.
For a month, the Richardville family no longer lived in a two-story apartment but in a tent.
Brandy, 43, and Anthony, 37, planned to move to New Orleans at the end of 2020, but their plans fell through when Brandy’s mother fell ill and later died Mississippi Clarion Ledger.
The couple quit their jobs to care for her, and Brandy had to take final exams before she could start her new job as a police officer.
They said they were stranded in Mississippi while visiting their boyfriend for a few days, and New Orleans was closed due to rising COVID-19 case numbers.
Brandy couldn’t find a job because the police had frozen hiring, and Anthony couldn’t find a job in his profession, construction.
The couple added that their savings quickly disappeared due to moving costs and funeral costs.
The family purchased a 10-person Ozark Trail tent from Walmart for $129 and set it up on the farm of a friend they were visiting in Moss Point, Mississippi.
They used Scotchguard to waterproof their tent and were worried that strong winds would ruin their tent.
The family claimed she showered at a nearby rest stop and relied on food from a local church.
Anthony said: “There were nights we didn’t eat to make sure the children ate.
“This COVID thing has taken its toll on each and every one of us.”
Their friend, Kenneth Cauley, 30, on whose farm they lived, had also lost his job at Walmart, but he explained why he was happy to help.
Kenneth said: “I’ve been in this situation and it’s tough.
“I’ve had to spend the night in an animal shelter before. Life isn’t always what you expect.”
“Sometimes it happens, you know?”
The couple added that their financial difficulties continued until they received their first stimulus check as they struggled to apply for unemployment benefits.
Brandy said: “I have tried repeatedly to claim and get help.”
In April 2020, the family finally received their first stimulus checks, moved into a 25-foot travel trailer and rented a space near an RV park.
Shortly thereafter, Brandy was able to receive unemployment benefits and the couple purchased a larger trailer in mid-May for $3,000 that would accommodate her and her five children.
Anthony said: “We buy what we can buy, then upgrade it, resell it and get something bigger.”