Answering the call: 211 gets thousands of calls as coronavirus concerns grow

‘Related or not related to the current emergency 211 has the answers’

ROANOKE, Va. – During a great time of need, Gov. Ralph Northam is pushing people to call 211 Virginia to get connected to local resources.

From March 5 to March 30, the Council of Community Services, which runs the hotline, says there have been more than 5,400 calls to 211 related to coronavirus.

The number of calls in March are double what they had in March 2019, getting close to 20,000 calls statewide.

211 is also helping answer calls for the Virginia Health Department.

To keep up with the call volume coming in from across the commonwealth, other council employees and United Way staff are doubling the number of people who answer all those calls.

Monday, Northam encouraged people to call if they’re experiencing food insecurity, but they can guide you to other resources you may need.

“If they have housing issues, child care issues, mental health issues, anything like that related or not related to the current emergency, 211 has the answers," said Anne Marie Green, president of the Council of Community Services in Roanoke.

More people calling means more people they can reach.

Green has even taken a few calls herself and said it feels good to bring people comfort and hope during this time of uncertainty.

“It is a tough job, talking to people that need help, talking to people who are worried about things, I was only taking calls related to the coronavirus but people are scared and they’re worried and it’s just a hard job and our contact specialist are wonderful," said Green.

211 Virginia is a 24-hour operation.

You can reach them by just dialing 2-1-1. They also have a list of common referrals for your coronavirus-related needs on their website.

If you’re not in need but want to help organizations that are, check out Hands-on Blue Ridge.

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