BECKLEY, WV (WVNS) — The effects of the pandemic, inflation, and numerous shortages continue to impact nearly every aspect of life.
The unprecedented turmoil means more people find themselves without a job or struggling to make ends meet.
“What we saw during and after the pandemic was there were a lot of people who had never had to utilize food pantries or assistance before but because of sudden job loss or different situations they had to reach out and ask for that assistance,” said, Trena Dacal, the executive director of United Way of Southern WV.
Dacal said the people who utilize their resources normally fall into two categories. They are either in poverty or in A.L.I.C.E., which stands for Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed.
Those are people whose income is below a certain level but above the poverty level which means that they struggle to make ends meet. paycheck to paycheck they are living very sparsely and so when wages don’t increase to meet inflation it affects their budgets,” said Dacal.
Now more people than ever are searching for help, Dacal said thankfully they have not seen a substantial decrease in donations. But more in more people fall into one of those two categories.
While as phones continue to ring off the hook she anticipates there are even more people in need of help.
“West Virginians are proud, they are very proud to help their neighbor, but they are hesitant to ask for support so one thing they do need to know is the 211 support line is completely confidential,” said Dacal.
One thing Dacal worries about is with more and more people in need of help, there is a greater chance for people to become dependent on that help.
“It is just a self-awareness that you need that there is an end to that assistance and so gradually with assistance from 211 if you need to to get through whatever tough patch you are having you have to come to terms that whatever assistance you are getting from the state or federal government will come to an end,” said Dacal.
Dacal says their 24-hour 211 hotline is available for anyone in need of resources.