211 Impact Story – One call leads to help with rent, food, emotional support

(Information provided by NC211 from a call received in April by a 211 call specialist. Full names are withheld to protect the privacy of the caller and call specialist.)

Jack has been a waiter for more than 20 years and loves his profession. He thrives on being in the restaurant and interacting with customers. Jack has made a good living, always able to pay his bills, but without much to save. 

Because of the COVID 19 pandemic, the restaurant where Jack works has temporarily closed, and he found himself suddenly unemployed and worried about how he will pay rent, other bills and buy food. Jack called 211 to find out where to start because he has never had to ask for help.

The NC 211 call specialist listened to Jack’s story and then provided him with information on how to file for unemployment. The specialist also explained to Jack about his rights as a tenant during this time and how to have a conversation with his landlord. 

The specialist provided Jack with information on food pantries and distributions near him. Sensing that Jack might also be suffering from anxiety and depression due to the sudden changes in his circumstances, the specialist gave Jack the number for a statewide mental health hotline.

This is just one of more than 33,000 calls made to 211 during April – all dealing with COVID-19 related needs. In the same timeframe, there were 271 calls to 211 in Catawba County with housing, food and employment the top three concerns.

NC 2-1-1 is the health and human services information line provided by United Way of North Carolina. Since 2005, donations to the Catawba County United Way have helped support 211 in Catawba County and made sure this doorway to help has been available to those in need.                                  

If you need help call 211 or visit nc211.org.