Katrina Relief Effort Buoyed by 2-1-1

Communications Director

Eric Vreeland
evreeland@knoxvilletn.gov
(865) 215-3480

400 Main St., Room 654A
Knoxville, TN 37902

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Katrina Relief Effort Buoyed by 2-1-1

Posted: 09/02/2005
Across the country, calls to 2-1-1 are bringing relief, financial aid and support to victims of Hurricane Katrina, and local 2-1-1 officials say the increased activity demonstrates the critical need for a national 2-1-1 service.

"It's not just for people who need help," said Gary Young, Knoxville 2-1-1 board member. "2-1-1 also gives those of us who want to help a place to turn."

Young said 2-1-1 is set up to provide information to callers who want to contribute or volunteer to help a social service agency, such as the American Red Cross or United Way. The 2-1-1 database and resource information is updated continuously and in disasters, such as Hurricane Katrina, provide callers with direct information on how best to assist.

"The assistance 2-1-1 provides works two-ways," Young said. "Right now we're receiving lots of calls from people who want to help out and give food or money to the victims. We expect more calls from individuals directly affected by the hurricane who will need assistance finding shelter, medical care, transportation and other services."

The local 2-1-1 call center, is a United Way agency and provides assistance for Knox and surrounding counties. It provides the most current information on a variety of local organizations, including food pantries, utility assistance, support groups, crime prevention and day care. The services of 2-1-1 are free to anyone and available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. To access this service simply dial 2-1-1 and you will connected to a trained counselor.

"If someone is interested in assisting the disaster relief effort through a donation of cash or supplies, they can contact 2-1-1 to be connected to the most appropriate organization" Young said.

"It's important to remember that even as we assist in the relief efforts in the Gulf Coast, many local agencies provide not only disaster relief but year-round care for those in need. On behalf of the disaster relief, please give according to your means and also continue to support the local United Way campaign in your community."