I was reminded of this by one of our 2-1-1 navigators during a recent staff meeting.
She was sharing the story of just one of her many heartbreaking calls: An elderly woman, who is legally blind, was dropped off by her step-daughter in a Walmart parking lot. She was left with her car that she is unable to drive but contained her possessions, her dog and phone. When she could not get in touch with her son… she turned to 2-1-1.
Our 2-1-1 navigator did not stop until she found this woman resources. An officer from the Homeless Outreach Team checked her into a Motel 6 for the weekend and our partners at Silver Key dropped off some food. An Adult Protective Services case manager went to see her and then she took a cab to apply for Medicaid; this will lead to payment for assisted living. All of this, because our 2-1-1 navigator didn’t stop until she connected this senior to the help she needed.
The reality is, sometimes they have to tell callers in crisis that there are not any resources available. It’s a tough job: to take calls from people all day who are hopeless, angry and unsure of where to go. And it can be even tougher being the middle man, often wanting to get in your car and drive to help.
In this case, that’s what our 2-1-1 navigator did. On a Friday evening, she went to the Motel 6 lobby and dropped off more groceries to get the woman through the weekend. Can they do this every time? No. But they do handle every call with love… All 36,000 of them each year.
To our many donors, please know how grateful we are for your support of this vital service.
President and CEO of Pikes Peak United Way
About 2-1-1: 2-1-1 is a free, bilingual, easy-to-remember phone number that serves residents of 12 counties. Trained information specialists staff the hotline from 8am to 5pm Monday through Friday. 2-1-1 is powered by Ent Credit Union!