Carol Berry, left, and Becky Goff, right (Brittany Howell for The Cullman Tribune)
I did not have a new guest this week on Community with Carol. I wanted another week to focus on the United Way of Cullman County. I could have spent a whole month writing articles and doing videos on the Cullman United Way and new director Becky Goff.
Becky wanted to devote this article and video to volunteering, the Stamp Out Hunger Fundraiser and 211.
I did a short video this fall on 211 after a guest, Katie Loyd, mentioned what a great resource it was. I had no idea 211 was a United Way-funded endeavor. Here is the basic idea: If you need information you can dial 211 and tell them your area code and they will assist you.
I gave it a try. In my case I spoke to a homeless person at Wal-Mart and called to see where the nearest shelter was. The operator asked for my area code and was very helpful. Noticing all the resources were outside of a 50-mile radius, the operator asked other questions and gave us information that might be of help. I was impressed with how quick the process was and how friendly and helpful the person was on the phone.
After talking with Becky, I learned this service can be used for a number of things! The card she gave me says, “Dial 211 to find hope and connect to help.”
Here are some things 211 can assist with:
BASIC HUMAN NEEDS: food, clothing, shelter and other basic needs
PHYSICAL AND MENTAL HEALTH RESOURCES: health insurance programs, Medicaid and Medicare, intervention services, support groups, counseling, drug and alcohol intervention, victim services and rehabilitation
SUPPORT FOR SENIORS: adult day care, respite care, home health care, transportation, specialized services for all ages with disabilities and employment services
SUPPORT FOR CHILDREN: childcare, after-school programs, family resource centers, mentoring, tutoring and protective services
HELP DURING A CRISIS: emergency shelter, food distribution centers, state and federal assistance, volunteer opportunity, grief counseling, clean-up crews, potable water, ice or food and emergency financial assistance
All this information can be found by using the 211 service and giving them your area code. If you are a local nonprofit, church, daycare or counseling service I encourage you to get your organization in the United Way directory. You do not have to be a partner with the United Way to be included. Cullman is full of resources that are not in the directory. Your organization can apply by calling 211.
Becky and I spoke briefly about the upcoming fundraisers for the United Way. United Way’s Young Professionals Board is hosting its third annual crawfish boil on April 27 at Goat Island Brewing. The National Association of Letter Carriers Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive will be on May 11. Residents can leave non-perishable food items in or around their mailboxes for their mail carriers to pick up; United Way will distribute the food to local food pantries. All the food collected will stay in Cullman County. Be looking for the postcard that your carrier will leave as a reminder.
The United Way has so much going on it is hard to get everything in print. I encourage you to look at the organization’s Facebook page (www.facebook.com/uwaycc.org) or website (www.uwaycc.org).
Becky also encourages individuals to stop by and see her in person. You can reach Becky at 256-739-2948 or go by and see her at 304 First Ave. NE in Cullman (the Old Train Depot).
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