Helping people who struggle to pay bills during COVID-19 pandemic

SPOKANE, Wash. — The stress of COVID-19 and a stay-at-home order are making it hard for families to earn money and pay bills.  Now, Project Share and UHELP are teaming up to help. For every dollar donated, the City of Spokane and Avista will each match it.

As of Wednesday morning, they’ve raised more than $7,000.

According to SNAP in Spokane, it’s not just those who qualify as low-income needing help, it’s everyone.

Plug sockets that work, lights that turn on and off, sinks that dispense cold and hot water, and heat. These are all things we easily take for granted. But they’re all bills a lot of people in our community are struggling to pay right now, regardless of class.

“Now, we’re not just seeing our low-income folks being affected. It is absolutely everybody. People who had a pretty good job three weeks ago, a lot of those people are not working,” said Carol Weltz, director or community action, SNAP in Spokane.

One man who works at SNAP can relate.

“15 years ago, my wife was going through nursing school, we just had our second child. I was working part-time so things were difficult financially,” said Joe Reilly, a SNAP worker and previous SNAP client.

He and his wife got help from UHELP and snap to pay their bills that month.

“When you’re a parent of young kids, your life revolves around them. In a moment where you are not sure if you can provide for your kids, that’s a really scary time,” Reilly said.

He feels for those in the same position he was once in.

“Our family is doing really well and, in part, because of programs like those that helped us along,” Reilly said.

Now, he works at SNAP where he helps others and returning the favor.

“Just a lifesaver during a time when we just needed a hand up,” Reilly said.

If you would like to donate, click HERE. Anything you donate will be matched by the City of Spokane and Avista. That money stays in our community to help our neighbors get a hand up.