Alaska 2-1-1 is co-located within the Anchorage Emergency Operations Center and plays a vital role in the response actions for the Civil Emergency declaration. During what is usually the slow time of year, referral specialists have seen a sharp increase in calls and referrals. Monday was a prime example—they started out the week with over a 230% increase in referrals for food and meal assistance compared to the same day last year.
Calls from distressed seniors who have lost their benefits are also pouring in. Seniors’ responses to the losses have ranged from extreme disappointment, sadness, and anger to confusion and feeling unprepared to handle sudden income changes. Referral specialists are trained to meet callers where they are at, lend listening ears, and act as guides for navigating an often difficult and cumbersome system. With a thin web of available support across the state, the stress on individuals and communities is increasing. Even so, callers have been grateful for the knowledge, care, and calm of 2-1-1 staff as they weather the storm.
If you or someone you know could benefit from their guidance or needs access to community supports, dial 2-1-1 or 1-800-478-2221 or visit them online to get connected.