Scranton Salvation Army helping families after federal benefits end

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SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — The extra federal unemployment benefits ended a little more than two weeks ago. Without the extra $300, a local non-profit is finding families are in need of more help.

The extra weekly $300 went a long way. It went towards rent, bills, and food. Without it, families are looking for resources to fill that void.

During the peak of COVID, Jason Morrison and his girlfriend, both of Scranton, were left with no choice but to be homeless.

“Oh it was extremely hard, it was um, it was hard,” said Jason Morrison, Scranton.

Morrison says the $600 and $300 in extra unemployment benefits made all the difference.

“It got us out of tight situations. When we wanted out of it, we couldn’t get out of it. It was there to help,” said Morrison.

Now that the benefits have ended, Morrison says his situation has become tight again. He’s working to get a state-issued ID so he can get a job. In the meantime, he’s relying on the Salvation Army once a month for food.

“If I don’t get the ID and start moving forward, we’re not going to be able to keep the place either,” Morrison explained.

“I think a lot of them try to, you know? Pay the bills, because of course the lights still have to be on, gas still has to be paid, that kind of stuff. And, if they feel like they know the Salvation Army is there for them that they come to us for the food,” said Major Karen Schmig, Corps Officer, The Salvation Army, Scranton.

Karen Schmig says in August, 216 families were given food. With nearly two weeks left in September, 220 families have already been helped. They’re anticipating more than 100 by the end of next week.

“It has gone up and we don’t see a stop to that,” Schmig said.

With more of a need in the community, food shortages are happening.

“There are shortages in the stores. We are getting shortages because our venues (vendors) are not having that kind of food to be able to give us,” said Schmig.

The Salvation Army in Scranton allows families in need to pick up food twice a month.

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