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Millions Face End Of Unemployment Benefits

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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The line at the Friday “Fresh for All” gets longer every week. The Philabundance program hands out fresh produce to families in need. And the need is growing.

“It’s absolutely wonderful,” said Jean Von Bergen. “It’s a Godsend.”

Von Bergen has been unemployed for a year now. The mother of three said she has looked everywhere for work.

“I’ve been looking online, just going everywhere, trying to see if anybody has anything,” she said, “but right now it’s very hard.”

Von Bergen is one of ten million people in the country who are collecting unemployment benefits.

“I don’t know if I could’ve survived without them because of not being able to find a job right now in this economy.”

But the benefits are scheduled to run out for two million people at the end of the month, if Congress does not pass an extension.

“The economy’s bad so we just need to help each other out with what we’re going through,” said Jesse Haley, an out-of-work Desert Storm Veteran.

Philabundance said donations are down about 40 percent coming into the holiday season, but the need for donations is up more than 60 percent since two years ago.

“I already cashed out my 401K,” said Denise Quizni, an out of work benefits analyst, “so, I mean, I have nothing else.”

Quizni estimates she has put out eighty-five resumes since she lost her job a year and a half ago.

“Out of the eighty-five, I might’ve had about five interviews,” Quizni said, “and competing against 600, 800 people ,it’s really hard. It’s really frustrating.”

Like millions of others, Quizni now faces a question she is afraid to answer: will her job hunting struggles outlast her unemployment benefits?

For more information on Philabundance program, visit: http://www.philabundance.org.

Reported by: Oren Lierbermann, CBS 3

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