October 10, 2016-As our local communities braced for the onslaught of Hurricane Matthew, the staff at 211 began to see an uptick in calls. In the 48 hours leading up to the storm’s impact, 211 HelpLine received almost 2,000 calls- triple the normal call volume.
The calls pouring in came from people of all ages looking for information on shelters, hurricane kits, how to protect their homes and belongings, and what to do with pets. People were frightened for themselves and others.
Transportation to get to shelters, was often a concern. A son calling on behalf of his bed ridden father was frantic as they did not have the means to get to a shelter. 211 staff was able to provide him with available resources that put his mind at ease.
Other calls included, elderly individuals who felt that they would not be able to physically carry and load the supplies required for the general shelters and thus chose to stay home, even if not the choice of safety. Some felt that they were not able bodied to put up shutters, thus calling looking for assistance in boarding their windows. Families were calling about emergency food stamps as they had exhausted their ration purchasing supplies for the storm.
The staff at 211 HelpLine were grateful to have had the opportunity to assist the people in our community during the harrowing times prior to Matthew’s impact- providing that warm, caring voice at the other end of the line.
If you are feeling overwhelmed and need to talk, or are in need of community resources or services, call 2-1-1 or visit www.211palmbeach.org or www.211treasurecoast.org
Nonprofit 211 Helpline’s mission is to connect people to services 24 hours a day by understanding their individual emotional, financial and community needs and to support the health & human service system as a whole.