Today we're celebrating 2-1-1! It's an easy to remember phone number that connects people with the resources they need. 2-1-1 has been available in Champaign County since October 2013. Over the past two years, 4,782 calls for help have been answered by a caring volunteer. Funding for 2-1-1 is provided by United Way of Champaign County and the Champaign County Mental Health Board.
Our local 2-1-1 call center is based in Bloomington, IL and is managed by PATH. Did you know 2-1-1 volunteers recieve 40 hours of training before they answer calls? These volunteers are dedicated! We asked PATH 2-1-1 volunteers to share a recent story about someone they helped or why they volunteer. Here's what they had to say:
I love volunteering for PATH/211 because I feel they are such an important agency in the community. I have learned so much myself, and have been help to help so many callers.
A mother that had been turned away from many dental offices called looking for referrals for her 8 year old daughter who needs a root canal. She has the medical card and no place has been willing to accept that as a form of payment. I searched for referrals to give her to try and was able to get her connected with 4 different places. I love being a new ray of hope for someone who thinks they have run out of options.
A single mom called looking for referrals for housing options in the Champaign area. She had never called us before and wasn’t sure where to go for help. I was able to give her some referrals she had never heard of to try for low income housing, homeless supportive housing, and transitional housing. She explained that she has been living with some friends and needs to find another place to stay and she has a month to do so. She has two children with her, a 6 month old, and a 4 year old. I encouraged her to contact the referrals that I had given her and to call us back if she needed to. I also scheduled a follow-up call with her to see if the referrals that we had given her were helpful. She thanked me and we hung up.
I was happy to be able help a woman in crisis who called looking for referrals for food pantries in the area that were open for today specifically. I searched and was able to give her three phone numbers to try that were still open today. She thanked me for helping her out.
Want to help spread the word about 2-1-1? We have posters and fliers that are great for hanging in a break room, office, community center, church, etc. We also have information cards for offices and lobbies. Give us a call at 217-352-5151 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.