By LaSherrald Jamison, RSFH Patient Representative
When I lost everything in a 2003 house fire, Trident United Way was there to help me get back on my feet. Without support from TUW, the ashes from that fire might have become the defining image of my life.
Thankfully, that is not the case.
Trident United Way is a Lowcountry organization that brings together people, businesses, government and non-profits to address our most pressing human service problems. The impact TUW has on our community is immeasurable, and the impact it has had on me personally is priceless.
After the fire, I had the awesome privilege of working with TUW as their phone room supervisor.
It's an experience I treasure.
I'll never forget my first hour on TUW's 211 hotline, a 24-7 community resource that serves a variety of purposes. The 211 Hotline is the gateway to find help. Being on the receiving end of the calls was both humbling and exciting — I was enabled to help someone and make a difference.
Most of the calls came from people that were in need of financial help with their utilities. Trident United Way provided resources and names of agencies that would be able to help. Many of my calls were from women who were involved in abusive relationships and needed help. I had callers who just needed someone to talk to, someone who didn’t mind listening.
While it was rewarding to empower and help the callers, there were times when the calls were simply heartbreaking. Sadly, I received many calls from citizens suffering from mental health issues. The silver lining is that, through the 211 Hotline, the callers were on their way to receiving help.
The hotline, which is connected to resource-filled database, can be reached by calling 2-1-1 from any phone.
Given all that TUW has done for me, it’s easy to donate to their efforts because I know my money is going towards a worthy cause in my community – perhaps helping someone in the same situation that I once found myself.
During my time in the phone room, I witnessed firsthand the passion and dedication of the staff. They worked hard to make sure all donations were allocated appropriately and distributed to the right organization. The staff cares deeply about their work, about each other and this community.
I recently had an opportunity to talk with several of the volunteers that covered the phones. One of the most common phrases I heard was, "It allows me an opportunity to give back."
For more information on TUW, visit http://www.tuw.org/LiveUnited.
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