CHELSEA, MASS. (WHDH) - Few cities in Massachusetts have been hit harder by COVID-19 than Chelsea, but people who live in this tight-knit community are hopeful that better days are ahead.

“Just talking with you, it seems like everyone in Chelsea really sticks together,” 7News’s Kris Anderson says to longtime resident John Annese.

“They absolutely stick together,” John says.

John is struggling financially.

“Right now, if you open up my refrigerator, there’s a little echo in there when you call out, because it’s pretty much empty,” he says.

Earlier this year, John heard about “Chelsea Eats.”  The program gives residents up to $400 a month on a prepaid debit card.

“I thought this was a great thing the city did,” says John.

He applied for the program and received good news – he had been selected to receive one of the food debit cards.

Someone from the city was supposed to call him with information on how to pick up the card. When nobody followed up, John called the city. He says he was told there were unexpected issues and residents would be getting their cards later than expected.

“It’s very aggravating when you’re promised something and it doesn’t follow through,” he says.

John needed help, so he reached out to Solve It 7.

We contacted the city.

Chelsea’s city manager told us there had been an issue with the company that makes the cards. But he said John was on the list and that the delay would not affect the amount of money residents would receive.

A few days later, John got the message he’d been waiting for.

“I got a call to go pick up the card,” he says. “I really believe Solve it 7 did make a difference and I appreciate it. I appreciate everything you guys have done.”

The city of Chelsea says after about a month delay, more than 3,500 people have received “Chelsea Eats” debit cards.

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