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DEKALB COUNTY, Ala. – Many are still worrying about whether they will be able to buy groceries or pay their bills as they wait for unemployment checks during the COVID-19 crisis.

There are various organizations helping those in need right now.

One of them is the Community Action Agency of Northeast Alabama (CAANEAL).

Program Director Taylor Yancey says they did not get many calls to start with, but by mid-June, “All of our phones were ringing off the hooks.”

Yancey said CAANEAL is best known for its utility assistance, but it also helps with rent and food assistance for those who qualify.

“They have upped those poverty guidelines to 200%, so for instance, if you are a household of one, the income number on that is $2,127. So if your gross income amount is not over that amount, then we will be able to assist you,” explained Yancey.

“Last month, there was quite a few instances where we just had young dads come in. They had family at home, but they had been laid off and they hadn’t received unemployment yet and they had no way of paying for their utilities, paying for their groceries, really paying for anything and it’s very disheartening seeing that happen in your community,” said Yancey.

CAANEAL is making it easier than ever to apply for assistance, too, through the new LITT LITE app.

“It will ask them for pictures of their documentation, they can take it, upload it directly, which when they submit, it will come in to us , they can sign it from where they’re at and they’ll never have to come into our office,” said Yancey.

Yancey told WHNT News 19 that right now, they are figuring out ways to increase the set amount of assistance for utilities, rent, and food so that those most in need can spread the money out over a longer time period.