Kickoff event to mark NC 2-1-1 service expansion

Published 9:03 pm Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Have you ever wondered who to call for help?

It’s a great question considering North Carolina has more than 18,000 nonprofit and public programs providing every form of service imaginable. Finding help is now easier than ever for residents of Polk County with the expansion of 2-1-1 service to the area.

Whether looking for emergency food, heath and wellness support groups or trying to find educational support for a young child, Polk County residents can now dial three numbers (2-1-1) to speak with a trained referral specialist who can help identify the best available resources nearest to them.

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A kickoff event celebrating the availability of this service will take place at 9 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 8 at Isothermal Community College, Polk Center. No RSVP is required.

Polk Fit, Fresh and Friendly, along with a number of other social service providers have worked for close to a year to lay the groundwork to bring this vital resource to the community.

“When people are in crisis, or just plain busy, it can be difficult to know where to start to look for help and what it takes to qualify for that help. Speaking with another person, who knows the lay of the land and understands the emotions of the situation, can make a world of difference in the outcome for many. Across our state and nation 2-1-1 call centers have saved lives and we know it will do the same here,” said Linda Greensfelder, with Polk Fit, Fresh and Friendly.

NC 2-1-1 is a statewide information a referral service providing call service to about 90 percent of state residents through their two call centers in Durham and Asheville. Polk County residents will be served by the Asheville call center.

“We’ve been connecting people with community resources for years. It started back in the 70s with information and referral, which later became First Call for Help. Ten years ago, we adopted the three-digit number you know us by today. Eight years ago, our searchable database became available online and most recently 2-1-1 was made available on cell phones and we added an iPhone App as well,” said Rachael Nygaard, director of the NC 2-1-1 Asheville Center. “We are proud to now be able to serve the residents of Polk County and look forward to a great partnership.

Polk County Planning Group Partners:
Polk Fit, Fresh and Friendly, Region C Workforce Development, Western Carolina Community Action, Hospice of the Carolina Foothills, Region C Area Agency on Aging, Rutherford-Polk-McDowell Health District, Seasons of Life Home Care, Thermal Belt Outreach Ministry, Steps to Hope and NC 2-1-1

– article submitted by Lou Parton