The Surry County 2-1-1 system has been operating for more than a month, and statistics from the first month are, no doubt, surprising to some in the area.
The 2-1-1 service is an informational phone line that residents can call to get information about local human service agencies and programs. It’s a clearing house of sorts, with a data base of where someone can go for help with utility bills, food needs, and other human services.
The United Fund of Surry County originally asked the Surry County Board of Commissioners to fund the service, but the board rejected that request. A couple of board members even went so far as to say the service was not needed, and “those people” already know where to go for help.
We felt that was a statement which showed a deep lack of understanding of what many people in this community are going through, and we still believe that.
But, what is done is done. The United Fund of Surry picked up the tab for the service, believing it was desperately needed, and the first numbers show the United Fund was correct. We suspect the longer 2-1-1 is in operation, the more calls it will field.
That brings us back to the board of commissioners. We hope, in light of these numbers and statistics that will accumulate in the coming months, the board will give strong consideration to funding the program, if the United Fund makes such a request again.
Doing so will be providing a much-needed service to Surry residents.