By Jennifer Liberto @jenlibertoFebruary 11, 2014: 12:47 PM ET
Unemployed worker Jean Winsor was close to breaking point after her jobless benefits expired at the end of December.
She wore extra layers to keep warm in a bid not to run up her electricity bills and contemplated selling her living room furniture to make her monthly mortgage payment of $481.
A copy of the mortgage receipt.
That's when hope came calling in the guise of CNNMoney reader Lee Bissell, who read about her plight and offered to pay Winsor's mortgage for a month. CNNMoney first wrote about Winsor in December, when she was among a million Americans who lost jobless benefits.
Bissell is not a millionaire with thousands of dollars to spare. In fact, she is a federal worker living in Herndon, Va. supporting a sick husband, a 15-year-old daughter and an 8-year-old son.
What resonated with Bissell was that Winsor had worked as a home health care aide for 12 years before losing her job.
It has meant really tough choices for the long-term unemployed. Winsor borrowed money from a friend to pay car insurance in January. Last week, she borrowed a car from another friend to get to the grocery store, because she couldn't afford to fuel up her own car.
Extended federal benefits expired the week of Dec. 28. The program first went into effect during the recession, in June 2008. Benefits were put in place to help unemployed workers who couldn't find jobs and whose state unemployment insurance had run out.