Lebanon County Woman's Struggles Compounded by Pandemic

Debora Jennings was struggling long before the pandemic. Last year, her husband got injured and months later her health took a turn for the worst.

“I had a bout with cancer, December…I had my surgery December 28th of 2019,” said Debora Jennings.

Then came COVID-19, leaving her husband with little work and few job opportunities. And that’s when they did something they had never done before – ask for help.

“Right now we are getting food stamps,” said Debora.

Debora received those SNAP benefits after calling Benefits Data Trust. Trooper Sanders is CEO of the non-profit.

“Last year in Philadelphia alone, we helped more than 6,000 households across Philadelphia get benefits on an average of $4,000 worth of benefits,” said Sanders.

Trooper says that since March the need has grown.

“This year we have seen a 30% to 40% increase in call volume of people asking for us to help them.”

Benefits Data Trust is a one stop shop, you’d call and speak with a representative who would help you apply for public benefits; things like rent assistance, health care and SNAP benefits, without leaving your home.

“It was very easy,” said Jennings. “Technology is not my friend and you know sometimes the forms are confusing. There’s always that feeling of, you know, embarrassment.”

But not anymore, now Debora feels one thing: relief.

“This program helped us out so that we can worry about other things instead of having to worry about food,” said Jennings.

Benefits Data Trust is based out of Philadelphia, but it also helps people in other states.

View the story here.