No photo taken to protect the privacy of the individual. 

Tony’s story

Tony becomes an advocate for being open about one’s challenges

Names have been changed to protect the privacy of the individuals in this story.

My name is Tony and I live with my wife and daughter Kaitlyn. Last winter Kaitlyn moved back in during a difficult divorce. Her finances were in pieces so I agreed to cover her expenses for a while even though I really couldn’t afford it. I have a small pension and the extra expenses made it impossible to pay all the bills. I fell behind on the gas bill and needed almost $1,500 to maintain service after I received the shut-off notice. I had heard about United Way’s PA 2-1-1 Southwest– a 24-hour helpline and decided to take the difficult step and ask for help. I was definitely reluctant to explain what had happened. At first, I just explained that I had a bad winter. I was hesitant to go into my daughter’s challenges and our living situation. The woman on the phone asked a few questions and that’s when I told her the full story. She couldn’t have been more understanding or helpful. That night she gave me four referrals, including an agency that provides emergency financial assistance to Veterans, like me. That helped get the heat back on. I also learned about a senior food program to stretch our household’s grocery budget. The important thing I want to share is because of my decision to open up about Kaitlyn I was directed to really important resources for her as well. We learned about United for Women’s funded-program that helps first-time financially struggling women like Kaitlyn. She received financial support and other guidance. I’m just so thankful that 2-1-1 could direct me to help for everyone in my family. If I’m ever in need again, I won’t hesitate to ask.

United Way’s PA 2-1-1 Southwest helps women like Kaitlyn get back on their feet. United for Women funds a program that helps women in crisis avoid even greater financial hardships. To learn more about United for Women visit