Over the course of the last year, the United Way of Pennsylvania saw the volume of callers to its 211 help line increase by 110% due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The hotline is a way people in Pennsylvania can learn about resources in their communities, everything from after-school programs to help finding food to assistance paying expenses.
From Philadelphia residents alone, the United Way received 54,000 calls, and more than 10,000 of those calls were from people seeking help paying their utility bills, Cinda Watkins, United Way's Human Services Senior Manager, said.
"It was remarkable. So many people were in need that we were extremely happy that we could be there for people, because they were definitely struggling," Watkins said.
PECO also has witnessed the economic effects of the pandemic. Pennsylvania's largest electric and natural gas utility company says among those who are behind on paying their energy bills, the average customer owes $512.
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