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“I think that life just happens and if you get in a tough spot you just need to ask for help. That’s all. Call 2-1-1. Just tell them. There’s nothing wrong with asking for help.”
My name is Bridget. I’m 51 years old and I live at home with my daughter, eight-year-old grandson, and my 11-year-old great-nephew, who I adopted from birth. I have a college degree and I’ve worked all my life. When the coronavirus hit, my world turned upside down.
I had worked for decades in the banking industry. When the quarantine began, I was processing loans as a temp worker. The bank allowed full-time employees to work from home, but contractors were not allowed. And, the kids were out of school. I didn’t have a sitter and there were no daycares open, so I had to stay home and I was at zero income. I was just hoping and praying that something would come through.
Thankfully, I heard about United Way’s 2-1-1 helpline from the staff at Presley Ridge where my son attends school. I wasn’t expecting a lot when I called 2-1-1. I thought they would just give me some phone numbers. It couldn’t have been further from the truth. They connected me to people who helped cover my rent in April. I received frequent text messages with information on how to get food. A lot of the food places were further out from where I live, but they actually offered me an Uber to go and pick up the food and that was great. At another point, one of United Way’s partners, a church organization, brought two boxes of food to the house. It was such a good feeling—having people caring about us and helping us.
Everything is better now. I was denied unemployment but I applied for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance which I was granted. I applied for food stamps and qualified. Because I had worked all my life, all of these things were new to me. But 2-1-1 was there every step of the way connecting me with organizations that could help make the application processes easy. My 2-1-1 resource navigator actually called me back three times to make sure we were doing okay. I was so surprised. Right now things are good. We feel secure and I’m so thankful.
I think that life just happens and if you get in a tough spot you just need to ask for help. That’s all. Call 2-1-1. Just tell them. There’s nothing wrong with asking for help.
Thanks to the generous support of United Way donors, United Way’s PA 2-1-1 Southwest helps families like Bridget connect to life-saving resources. 2-1-1 and the hundreds of dedicated agency partners help people regain stability when a crisis hits.