Part-time workers desperate for power, jobs to return

- Hurricane Irma didn't just knock out power and destroy homes. It also knocked out bank accounts, especially for those already on a tight budget.

"[It's] hell," said Renee Stough, a manager at Papa's New York Diner in Clearwater. "Just hell."

The diner, at Gulf to Bay and Keene, closed at 8 a.m. Saturday, September 9 and reopened 2 p.m. on Friday, September 15.

During those six days, Stough estimates she lost $1,000 in tips.

She couldn't afford enough food during the storm, and said fellow paycheck-to-paycheck servers went without basics for their children, including water and diapers.

"It was rough for everyone," she said. "Not just me. Everybody suffered here."

Economic forecaster Moody's says part-time workers are just a few of Irma's victims - predicting $12 billion to $16 billion will be lost from the economy.

FEMA offers Disaster Unemployment Assistance for those who lost wages or their jobs entirely.

Lynette Baio-Portorreal lost $1,500 and has already applied for relief. She is waiting to see how much she will get.

"Wells Fargo deferred my payment if I needed it," said Lynette Baio-Portorreal another server. "Credit cards were deferring late fees, giving us the time. I am really impressed with how everyone is coming together and helping each other."

This diner has 30 workers who all were in those shoes.

Part-time workers are maybe the happiest to see the lights come back on so they can keep their own lights on.

"We are ecstatic," said Stough. "As soon as we got the phone call for it, we were here."

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