211: A Community Lifeline
The caller on the other line needed help. The operator responded in a calm, level voice asking for basic information, such as the number of people in the household and whether there were any children living there. This was just one of thousands of calls to the United Way 211 call center based in Tacoma that serves Thurston, Pierce and Lewis County residents. There is an increasing number of individuals and families in our area who are employed, sometimes with two jobs, but who are unable to afford the basic necessities of housing, food, child care, health care, and transportation. 211 serves as a community resource connecting callers to essential health and human services for supplemental food, shelter, mental health care, job support and much more. 211 services are free and can be accessed by phone or computer 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The caller had a broken vehicle and no way to get to work. Too many missed days and her job would be in jeopardy. With no savings to rely on, her paycheck was the only thing keeping her family fed, sheltered, and off the street. She could not afford the repairs to her car and didn’t know where to turn. But then she heard about the 211 service. The operator on the other line was able to connect the caller to a resource for free auto repair. Calls to 211 are completely confidential and free of charge. The operators are highly trained. They offer a compassionate ear and expert advice on finding the help you need for yourself or family and friends. Simply dial 211 to access their services. We all know someone who this service could benefit -- please spread the word!