211 is a vital service used by millions of people across the U.S. every year—serving 42 counties throughout Tennessee. Individuals contact 211 to access free and confidential crisis and emergency counseling, disaster assistance, food, health care and insurance assistance, stable housing and utilities payment assistance, employment services, veteran services and child care and family services.
“I’ve always had a passion for helping people,” says LaKelia, 211’s manager. “Public service is my thing. I get so much joy when I help people and when I give back. Community was a big part of my life growing up whether you needed to borrow a cup of sugar or whether you needed to stay at your neighbor’s house while your mom had to go to work, that was a big thing for me.”
No matter the situation, the specialists at 211 listen, identify underlying problems and connect people in need with community resources and services that improve their lives.
211 is free, accessible 24/7/365, completely confidential and available in more than 180 languages.
LaKelia remembers talking to one 211 client whose husband had passed away on Christmas Day.
“She said, ‘I didn’t know what I needed or what I was looking for,’ ” LaKelia recalls the woman telling her.
The specialist on the other end of the line told her that everything would be OK, helped her locate the right resources and talked her through next steps.
LaKelia says being able to help her neighbors who don’t know where to turn is why she’s so passionate about her work.
“I love being a part of the community. I love helping the community. And again, it just gives me a lot of joy to do that.”