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Emily’s Story

“I’m glad to know that United Way and 2-1-1 are there as a safety net if I ever need help again. ”

My name is Emily. I’m 20-years-old and I was a server at a restaurant that closed during the COVID-19 shutdown. When restrictions were lifted, the restaurant reopened for takeout only.

At the time, I was barely managing on unemployment benefits and income supports, and I couldn’t keep up with my electric bill. I was really scared because winter was coming, I have two small children, and I didn’t want to lose my service. My apartment is all-electric. When I called my electric utility company to discuss payment options, I was directed to United Way’s PA 2-1-1 Southwest.

When I called 2-1-1, A Resource Navigator told me about the Dollar Energy Hardship Program and about two local organizations that provide emergency financial assistance to low-income families. I was also given a brief application for a grant from United Way’s COVID-19 Assistance Fund.

Two weeks later, I was happy to report that Dollar Energy had made a payment on my electric bill. At that same time, my employer called me back to work. Everything just seemed to work out. I’m glad to know that United Way and 2-1-1 are there as a safety net if I ever need help again.