When you talk to Noreen, she’ll tell you she’s had a fair but challenging life. A mom to three girls and a grandmother to 11 grandkids, her financial struggles have been constant, but she’s always managed to get by. Until COVID-19 hit our community in March 2020.
Noreen has multiple health challenges, including COPD, so she’s on disability, but worked a part-time job to stay active and supplement her income. But when the pandemic spread, her health put her at high risk, so she was forced to leave her job. She was able to collect unemployment for a few months, but when that ran out, the bills started piling. A natural worrier, she says the stress of getting more and more behind each month was eating away at her. She even started seeing a counselor to help with her anxiety and depression.
Then one day as she was watching the news, she heard about United Way’s COVID-19 relief efforts and called our hotline. Noreen connected with her care coordinator, Jennifer, who walked her through all her assistance options and every step of the application process.
“Jennifer is the most amazing person,” said Noreen. “From the very beginning she was just so pleasant and so kind and nice. I feel like God puts people in your path for a reason and I feel that way about her.”
Thanks to funding from the City of Virginia Beach, we were able to help Noreen with her rent, electricity, water and cell phone bills. This financial relief allowed Noreen to begin catching up on her bills and removed some of her mounting stress.
“I am so humbly grateful for the help that I got from [United Way] that I just can’t even explain it in words," said Noreen. "It was like a lifesaver.”
We appreciate all the United Way donors and partners who allow us to be part of stories like Noreen’s. Thanks to you, we’ve helped over 110,000 individuals and families impacted by COVID-19, and the work continues.