Since the last few posts have been kind of number-centric, I wanted to share one final and very important number with you: 2-1-1. Just like you’d dial 9-1-1 for an emergency, 2-1-1 is a phone number people can call when they need help with food, housing, employment, health care, counseling, etc.
Basically, when a person needs a particular social service they can call that number and tell the operator what their needs are and the operator will locate agencies near them where they might find help.
I love this concept because, even if you don’t have spare change to give someone you see begging on the street, you can at least tell them to call this number for help. It doesn’t cost you anything except a place in your memory.
This is also a great way for people like YOU to get hooked up with volunteer opportunities. If you want to volunteer for a particular cause but aren’t sure what local places are nearby that serve the need, you can call 2-1-1 and they’ll hook you up.
A really functional aspect of this service is that it’s national with local operators, so even if you aren’t in East Tennessee, you can still use and recommend this service (e.g. if you are on vacation somewhere and you see someone that needs help, or you move after college and are looking for ways to get involved with your new community).
According to its website, 2-1-1 was launched in 1997 by the United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta and now reaches 47 states and Washington, D.C.