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The pandemic sparked an idea for local woman Maria Castro. She found a way to get everyday necessities — plus a touch of inspiration — to women in need. (WTTW News)

The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated housing insecurity, substance abuse, human trafficking, and domestic violence, often leaving women struggling with those issues with virtually no resources to move forward. But the pandemic also sparked an idea for local woman Maria Castro. She found a way to get everyday necessities — plus a touch of inspiration — to women in need.

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(Tim Mossholder / Unsplash)

Unemployment has been a major issue throughout the pandemic. Stay-at-home orders spurred layoffs — many who lost their jobs had trouble accessing benefits — in part because there was a whole lot of fraud.