Food Insecurity Is a Major Issue in Our Area. But a Simple Phone Call Can Help Those in Need.

With as much emphasis as our culture places on food – from indulgent dining and the Food Network to weight loss and proper nutrition, it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that many people around us are actually struggling with hunger. Whether it’s an intermittent problem or a daily issue, food insecurity is an obvious threat to people’s health and overall well being. But United Way’s 2-1-1 Call Center can be a great resource for those in need.

2-1-1 Connects Alabama is a statewide network of regional call centers that provides easy access to a wide variety of health and human services available throughout the state. The 2-1-1 Call Center operated by United Way of Central Alabama – 24 hours a day, seven days a week – serves about 38,000 callers a year in Blount, Cullman, Jefferson, Shelby, St. Clair and Walker counties, and also handles calls from other regions that cannot provide around-the-clock service.

In response to calls concerning food insecurity, food pantries rank high among the services that 2-1-1 call specialists frequently point people toward. There are, of course, familiar resources such as the Community Food Bank of Central Alabama (a United Way partner agency), but there is also an extensive network of food pantries operated by churches and other benevolent organizations. United Way’s 2-1-1 Call Center currently has 86 food pantries in its database for the surrounding six counties, and 586 food pantries statewide. To make access as timely and easy as possible, 2-1-1 call specialists can direct callers to the food pantry that’s closest to them, based on zip code.

Callers can access 2-1-1 in three different ways:

While United Way’s 2-1-1 Call Center can’t solve the underlying problems that lead to food insecurity, the service is definitely helping provide relief when people need it most. To learn more about all the ways that 2-1-1 can provide assistance in times of urgent need, click here.