Imagine in this day of cellphones, never knowing who or what kind of caller is on the other end of the line.
A typical Tuesday morning in the MD 2-1-1 hotline room involves callers needing anything from a phone number to a local agency to emergency shelters and everything in between. Many are in crisis, pleading for help. Crisis counselors, like Janice, are there, ready to help.
“I’ve never done this before…can you help me?” This is what Roger stated when he contacted MD 2-1-1 after he received a notice from his power company. He explained that he was over a thousand dollars behind and was facing his electricity being cut-off in the next week. Roger is a single father of three, his wife suddenly left him a year ago forcing him to take on all of the responsibility for his family. With no other family or support system, he tried the best he could to keep his full-time job and care for his three young children. Unfortunately, he started to fall back on his bills when one of his children fell ill and he needed to miss time at work be there for her.
When Janice took Roger's call, she immediately reassured him that he was certainly not alone and how she would help him find all of the resources that he was eligible for to ease this burden. She was able to find 5 resources that he would qualify for in his area. While she was looking up these resources, Roger continued to share how difficult this has been but is grateful that his children are safe and with him. As the call was ending, Roger expressed his gratitude to not only the help with resources but to have a caring person to talk to without judgement. Roger also agreed to have a follow up call in the next few days to see if those resources were able to help. He was also reassured that he could call 2-1-1 at any time for resources or if he just needed to talk to someone.
When Janice called Roger for his follow up, he was so happy to report that between those referrals given he was able to pay his outstanding bill and prevent his electric from being shut off. Roger was back on track at work and felt confident that he would be able to continue to provide for his family. Again, Roger expressed his gratitude for the service that 211 was able to provide.