Sampson citizens now have another resource when looking for help but don’t know where to turn. Thanks to efforts from the United Way of Sampson County, residents here can now call 2-1-1 or visit www.nc211.org and receive information on myriad services offered in the county.
Nancy Carr, local United Way executive director, shared that the new 2-1-1 service went into full service Dec. 12, and now everyone throughout the county can have access to all types of service information.
“We are so excited about getting this program up and running. We have been working on it for some time now and it is finally operational. It is something everyone in the county can go to find out where to go for needed services. It should be a very beneficial resource for them. United Way of Sampson County is pleased that we can provide this service to our citizens,” asserted Carr.
The executive director explained that the 2-1-1 service is now available in about 80 percent of North Carolina and 80 percent of the United States. If someone is traveling, they should be able to access the information for that area by simply dialing 2-1-1 or visiting the www.nc.211.org website in North Carolina.
The 2-1-1 service is a way for people to get connected to answers they desperately need. Through the service, Carr explained, citizens can find information for services to provide basic needs of food, clothing and shelter or child care services. Consumer help, counseling, crisis intervention, health care and housing information will also be accessible through this site. Senior services, support groups and volunteer opportunities can also be discovered by making the call or going online to seek the information.
“The caller is responsible for following up on the information they will receive from making the call or visiting the website. The statistics show that over 95 percent of callers do contact the organizations in which they are referred,” said Carr.
The 2-1-1 service allows the caller or website visitor to ask where they go for needed services. The service does not directly connect the caller to the assisting organization but provides the information as to how the caller can make contact with the service provider.
“The phone specialists are trained individuals that have been taught how to discern what the callers’ needs are and can direct them to the correct service agency. There may be situations when a caller will be directed to multiple agencies for services,” stated Carr.
The United Way director expressed that this service will decrease the non-emergency calls to 911 and calls to agencies such as the Department of Social Services. Carr explained that through 2-1-1 a person will be able to skip having to make multiple calls to get to the right agency. Because the service specialists both on the phone and on the website will know where to direct the caller so they will not waste important time calling these departments only to be directed to another department or agencies that could better serve their needs.
The call or website visit is at no cost to the caller or Internet user. All contact is confidential and available 24 hours per day, everyday. Also various languages are available to callers and website users.
“Another service that will be available through the 2-1-1 system will be in the event of a natural disaster, such as a hurricane or snow storm. People will be able to contact 2-1-1 and find out where shelters and other services have been set up to assist during these conditions,” stressed Carr. “2-1-1 has been set up to provide people in need with health and human services resources and it will be a great opportunity to save anyone in need to find out where they need to go to get help quickly,” added the director.
The 2-1-1 service is available to everyone and is countywide. Carr is hoping people realize this great resource and that they will take the opportunity to utilize it to get the help they need.
“I think often times people get frustrated with some of the agencies they call because they are not the right agency they need and they have to call someone else. By using 2-1-1, they will get the right contact to start with and be on a speedy way to getting the help they need,” remarked Carr.