Imagine you are at the grocery store, and the cashier notices that you’ve got a certain product and that it is buy one get one free. She tells you to go and get your free product while she finishes ringing you up. Sweet!
Situations like that can make us feel good, like someone is watching out for us. In however small a way, someone noticed us and wanted to make sure we were taken care of.
2-1-1 Referral Specialists do their best to look out for every caller. Here’s an example:
John called to find out about food pantries. While pulling up locations, Elizabeth, a 2-1-1 Referral Specialist, asked a little more about his situation. John is ill, and his treatments are keeping him from working. He’s waiting on word about disability, but that takes a while. Friends and family do what they can, but it’s not always enough.
John called about food pantries, and Elizabeth could’ve given him those numbers and ended the call there... but that’s not how we work.
Elizabeth asked John if he had applied for food stamps yet. He hadn’t. He had actually planned to go that day but his treatment lasted longer than expected, and he missed the opportunity. 2-1-1 Referral Specialists can now take certain food stamp applications by phone, so she was able to get him signed up right there – while he sat in his own kitchen.
Next, Elizabeth made a call to find someone to help John with the appeals process for disability and was successful. John is thrilled to have made that connection since this is all so new to him. Without 2-1-1 he wouldn't have known what to do next.
Every day our 2-1-1 referral specialists do their best to hear the things that aren’t being said in a call. They try to dig a little deeper to find out if there are other issues that could be resolved with just a little more information. And sometimes, the results can be tremendous.