News : Vermont 2-1-1 Opens New Call Center
Essex Junction, VE, USA, June 17, 2015 -- Vermont 2-1-1 employees will answer phone calls from a new location.
Tucked behind the Big Lots on Pearl Street in Essex Junction is the new call center for the phone number that Vermonters can call for just about anything. The free, confidential, 24/7 service is the number to dial to find out about hundreds of community resources across the Green Mountain State.
The organization was created by the United Ways of Vermont in 2005.
Say an elderly friend needs meals delivered or a neighbor has run out of oil for a heater, staff at the call center can help Vermonters reach groups and organizations throughout the state. Or if a natural disaster hits, such as Hurricane Irene, Vermont 2-1-1 call center staff can help callers reach organizations that can help evacuate residents or rebuild damaged homes.
"2-1-1 is the first step toward solving everyday problems," said Director MaryEllen Medl.
"Someone could call and ask for the number for Pizza Hut but that's not what we do," she added. "We give callers a place to find the information they are looking for."
The organization outgrew it's previous locations on St. Paul Street in Burlington, Farrell Street in South Burlington and above the Champlain Valley Agency in Essex Junction, Medl said. The new location is several doors down from the previous call center.
After 2011's Hurricane Irene damaged numerous Vermont towns, employees realized the center needed not only a larger space, but state-of-the-art equipment so staff could answer phones from anywhere.
"That offers the flexibility we need in situations," Medl said.
About 20 staff members and volunteers gathered Wednesday at the new call center to celebrate the grand opening and offer tours of the facility.
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Snacks and brochures lined the tables in the center as about 15 people shuffled through the halls to check out the space.
Though no walk-in assistance is available, employees wanted to share information about the organization and its many partners, such as the suicide prevention line, human trafficking hotline and the Agency of Human Services.
"We want to say we're here, this is what we do," Medl said.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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About Vermont 2-1-1:
Vermont 2-1-1 is a free and confidential service, serving Vermonters statewide with information and resources to help maintain and improve their health and well being.
Published: Thursday, June 18, 2015
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