211 is a lifeline during COVID-19


On March 18, Governor Roy Cooper announced NC 2-1-1 by United Way of North Carolina as a resource people can call for assistance related to COVID-19.

Since then 211 has helped families find food, healthcare, employment advice and hope.

Catawba County United Way is one of several community partners who help fund this program.

The health and human services information line has handled a total of 22,428 calls since activation on March 18, with more than 3,200 related to COVID-19 specifically. There were 67,517 active users on the 898-211 text platform.

The following is one of those stories from March provided by the NC 211 call center. It is an example of how important getting the information you need, when you need it makes all the difference during an emergency.

Jessie is a single mother of two who works the day shift as a waitress at a restaurant while her boys are in school. With the COVID-19 pandemic, everything in Jessie’s world has changed. Her boys are now out of school for the foreseeable future requiring Jessie to be home during the day.

Jessie was laid off when the restaurant where she worked had to close the dining room and serve only takeout orders to comply with social distancing requirements.

Like so many others, she worried about how she would pay her rent, buy food and take care of her sons. With no idea of what to do next, she called 211 for help.

The call specialist provided multiple referrals, including information on how to apply for unemployment.

The call specialist also reassured Jessie that for now, she and her boys cannot be evicted, even if she is unable to pay her rent. She was encouraged to reach out to her landlord to see if they can work together on a plan. 

Jessie also received information on where she could find lunch for her family every day while school is out and a referral to a food pantry to help with dinners.

NC 211 call specialists receive similar calls every day.

In Catawba County, the top calls since March 18 have been about housing/shelter (59), food (59), COVID-19 (40) and employment (34).

Remember, to learn about community resources near you, call 2-1-1 or visit nc211.org. Because of the current level of need, be patient when you call. For additional resources visit ccunitedway.com.