Tira Jones can recognize desperation in a caller’s tone. When she was an unemployed single mother in need of a financial boost, her voice used to sound the same way.
Now, in her full-time job processing online applications for food stamps for the state of Maryland, she is willing to share her story with other families looking for assistance — and put them at ease.
“I’ve learned to have patience in dealing with things because I have a lot of empathy for people,” Jones said. “A lot of customers are scared to apply because they’ve never done it before, or [they think] they’ll be embarrassed. But they’re not by themselves.”
Jones was one of 100 workers hired by the state Department of Human Resources last year to address growing delays in processing of food benefits and medical services for low-income Marylanders.