SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — It’s 2-1-1 day in the Coastal Empire.

A day that is all about bringing awareness to the resources the United Way of the Coastal Empire has to offer, and recognizing the heroes who work hard to assist those in the community who are in need.

“2-1-1 is a confidential call center service, a confidential service for the citizens of our 4 county region (Chatham, Bryan, Liberty, and Effingham) to help connect people in need with the programs, the services and the resources they need to address their challenge,” said Brynn Grant, President & CEO of the United Way of the Coastal Empire.

Those resources can take the forms of anything from rent and utility assistance, to finding health care, help paying bills, finding food, and even help with transportation.

They’ve also brought on bilingual call operators to help assist those who may have previously been hesitant to call due to the language barrier.

“It’s very fulfilling for me especially for the Hispanic community,” said Jessica Smith, bilingual I&R Specialist at the United Way of the Coastal Empire. “They’re very unaware they don’t know that there’s a bilingual person that can assist them that, you know, that they have these resources available to them and it just makes me happy that at the end of the day I was able to make someone’s day, even if it’s just one person, I’m just happy to be able to do it and make an impact.”

A lot of those needs have been exasperated since the pandemic has begun. Prior to 2020, the United Way averaged nearly 10,000 2-1-1 calls per year. That number has since doubled.

“During the pandemic, as you might imagine, the call volume increased dramatically. Last year alone we took over 21,000 calls in our 211 call center, and since the beginning of the pandemic over 34,000 calls for help and for assistance,” Grant explained.

A great majority of those 21,000 calls were taken by just three call operators.

For more information about the United Way of the Coastal Empire, you can click here.