Local campaign raises awareness for 2-1-1 helpline

Local campaign raises awareness for 2-1-1 helpline

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By KAYLA STRAYER
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - You've heard of 911, but what about 211? Tuesday is "211 Day," aimed at bringing awareness to the national helpline.

211 is one of the largest databases in the country. Users call in, give their zip code, and they're connected with local groups who are able to help with everything from food and housing to employment.

Michelle Hankes, with East Tennessee's chapter of the American Red Cross, says her organization relies on 211 every day. After every disaster, people need help with recovery.

"That's where 211 comes in. It's very important to know what resources are out there. As the Red Cross, we try to provide everything we can, but there are some things that are just not our expertise. We can call 211 and get that expertise to our clients to help them through the recovery phase," Hankes said.

Stan Bowling works with senior services at Covenant Health. He says his company uses 211 to help patients once they return home after a hospital stay.

"211 means a very quick and efficient way of looking at resources that are available for our patients," Bowling said.

Amanda Wilson says it's also an easy way for people to get connected to her group, Together! Healthy Knox.

"Strong partnerships can help build a stronger, healthier community, and we believe that a strong 211 can help promote strong partnerships in our community," Wilson said.

Jan Johnson Nelson, manager of East Tennessee's 211, says that's the goal.

"We have a call center in Nashville that we contract with 24/7, so that people who are in need always have a person to talk to no matter what time of day or night," Nelson said.

Seniors tend to use it the most, but it's for anyone in need of any kind of social service help.

211 relies on the United Way and private donors to keep it going. Because of the economy, the service is in need of more funding. For more information, or to donate, call (865) 524-2786.

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