2-1-1 In the News
News Channel 5 (Nashville, Tennessee)
Non-Profit Sees Increase In Calls For Help
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - The United Way is kicking off its annual campaign with the hope of helping others. The non-profit is being flooded with calls for everything from counseling services to financial assistance.
During the past year, United Way officials said calls to their 211 office have jumped nearly 90 percent.
The operators are standing by around the clock. In a ten hour shift, Brittany Hollibaugh said downtime was a rarity.
"I'd say I probably take anywhere from 100-150 phone calls," said Hollibaugh.
The questions pertain to everything from help paying utilities to public services. Hollibaugh said many clients are making the difficult decision to ask for help for the very first time.
"We're hearing more and more of people calling in about they've lost their job or they are having a hard time paying their bills," said Hollibaugh. "I'm helping them as much as I can."
The experts said the situation was improving. Earlier this week the Federal Reserve chairman said the economic recession was over. Officials with the United Way said they expect the demand for help will grow even higher.
"We saw a need that was two to three times greater than the amount of money that we had to give organizations," said United Way 211 director Doug Fluegal.
Fluegal said nothing could have prepared them for the flood of requests. United Way officials are hopeful residents will also answer the call and donate or volunteer.
"That really helps. A lot of our agencies are having trouble meeting the needs when people are coming to them," said Fluegal.
To get help from the United Way, all you have to do is call 211. When making the call, officials suggest you have a pen and paper, so you can write down the phone numbers of agencies that might be able to help.
On the Web: http://www.newschannel5.com/Global/story.asp?S=11159352