There aren’t enough resources available to help everyone with everything, but there are certainly more resources available than many people who need them can find.
For the past year, there has been a door open around the clock for people looking for health and human services for themselves and their families — or willing to volunteer their services to others. According to a press release I had a chance to read today, almost 88,000 residents of Missouri and southern Illinois have called 2-1-1 in its first year of operation to find or give help.
Most of the calls were from people looking for assistance to pay their utility bills, rent, or grocery bills; some, particularly recently, were from people looking for advice or help with their mortgage payments. People called during the summer for help with the heat; they called during the floods for help with the water. People called about their children, their grandchildren, their parents, and their grandparents.
Specialists working the phone lines referred these callers to some of the region’s more than 10,000 government and private providers of assistance. The calls were all free and confidential.
The 2-1-1 program is administered by the United Way of Greater St. Louis; the bulk of funding comes through the local United Way and from the Missouri Foundation for Health. AT&T allows users of its cell phone network to dial the number directly.
I would like to thank the companies and the individuals, including employees of the City of St. Louis, who have contributed to the United Way — and I offer the example of this program’s success as a reason to give again.