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Calls to 211 have increased during pandemic

Posted at 6:35 PM, Jul 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-28 18:35:10-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Resource specialists for the 211 Help Line are available 24 hours a day.

The calls can range from depression to a loss of income.

One of the specialists named Kelly said they try to help every caller. "We are here to listen. I have many of my callers say I'm the first actual person that they have spoken to," she said.

Sharon L'Herrou is the president and CEO of the company. She said, "We are getting calls from people who are worried that they are not going to be able to pay their rent."

211 says before the pandemic they averaged about 200 calls per day. Just weeks after the pandemic started, their calls doubled.

L'Herrou says callers are anxious about many things, "People are worried about their health and safety. People want to know where they can go to get tested."

But for a few moments Tuesday afternoon, the crisis team got a break.

A meal for staffers was delivered thanks to Sarah Alsofrom and the company she works for, GL Homes.

"My dad founded 211, formerly known as Crisis Line, almost 50 years ago so this organization has a special place in my heart. To be able to give back to this organization is very meaningful to me personally," she said.

The Lord's Place prepared the meals through Joshua Catering.

Chef Robert Coleman said, "Our clients are their clients. The folks that call 211 are also coming to the Lord's Place and looking for help. It's important for us to support everybody in the community."

It's a welcomed gesture to the resource specialists like Mike, who said, "There are a lot of people in mental health crisis, a lot of people in financial crisis. So it's a good break for us to be able to get out and (get) some fresh air and get some food."

L'Herrou added, "It's wonderful that GL homes and The Lord's Place, Joshua Catering have been able to say thank you to our staff who are caring for everybody else."