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Contact Concern of Northeast Tennessee responds to community needs

February 13th, 2012 10:10 am by Staff Report

Contact Concern of Northeast Tennessee responds to community needs

Currently, there are approximately 45 volunteers working with 2-1-1/Contact Concern of Northeast Tennessee. Ideally, the agency needs 60.

By Katina Rose


Have you ever needed help finding a referral for basic needs, such as clothing, food, medical, or transportation assistance? Has there been a time when you needed someone to listen and didn’t know where to turn? Perhaps you are elderly, or homebound, and would like to experience the comfort of a check-in call each day.


2-1-1/Contact Concern of Northeast Tennessee provides these services to individuals in Sullivan, Hancock, Hawkins and Johnson counties. Volunteers are available 365 days a year from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m., and the service is free and confidential.


"We received over 3,000 calls, approximately one third of our calls, last year for the basic necessities such as food, clothing, housing and transportation. The calls for basic necessities have skyrocketed as the economy has went down since 2007," said Lynn Sorrell, Executive Director.


This time of year, the agency receives approximately 500 calls from those seeking assistance with income tax filing. The volunteers will direct people to places they can receive assistance in preparing a basic income tax form.


There is also a great demand for dental assistance.


"We have a need for more agencies to offer dental assistance. We receive a lot of calls from people with an abscessed tooth or toothache, and they are very limited on their options," said Regina Gullion, a 2-1-1/Contact Concern volunteer who has logged more than 1,200 hours.


Senior citizens and homebound individuals can also request a form to participate in The Reassurance Program. A phone call is placed at a set time each day to check on the participant's well-being and to provide a listening ear. If a client cannot be reached, the volunteer must call a contact person to check in on the reassurance client.


Sorrell also noted that caregivers are encouraged to contact 2-1-1 if they are caring for someone and become aware of basic needs that are not being met. Contact Concern can help direct caregivers in the right direction, depending on what is needed or requested.


Currently, there are approximately 45 volunteers working with 2-1-1/Contact Concern of Northeast Tennessee. Ideally, the agency needs 60.


"We have over 6,000 hours a year of volunteer time, but more volunteers are always needed and appreciated," said Sorrell.


Training is provided and consists of 15 hours of training by area professionals. A volunteer usually works two (2) four-hour shifts per month and has a variety of time frame options to choose from, since the agency is open 15 hours a day.


If you interested in volunteering with 2-1-1/Contact Concern, or would like to make a monetary donation, call 2-1-1 or call 423-246-2273. Additional information is also available on the website at www.contactconcern.org.

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