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211 operators help connect Hoosiers to the resources they need

They've played a big role in helping people get vaccinated
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Posted at 6:54 AM, Jun 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-15 07:58:07-04

INDIANAPOLIS — One of the backbones of getting people registered for the COVID-19 vaccine landed in the hands of 211 workers statewide.

You may not know them by their individual names, but people working for the state's resource line made a name for themselves by being on the front lines of the pandemic.

"We've heard wrenching stories of people who have not left their home for weeks because they are scared and they call in tears when scheduling their appointments," 211 executive director Tara Morse said.

211 is among the programs managed by the state's Family and Social Services Administration. After two years, the partnership became official last July at the height of the stay-at-home orders.

One worker said being able to help callers set up a vaccine appointment was rewarding.

Three 211 workers shared their thoughts with WRTV.

One described their efforts as, "Honorable. Being able to help callers get set up with an appointment is rewarding. I have lost a lot of family due to COVID-19."

Another said, "I'm a retired RN that no longer ambulates well, but this makes me feel like I'm contributing to the health of the community."

A third remarked, "I am super proud to be making such a difference. ... It has been so enjoyable to speak with all the different age groups and populations all across the state. My heart is full."

Beyond vaccine scheduling, 211 workers use their time on the phone to listen and help connect people with other services, including food, health care or assistance with utility bills.

"They are helping someone navigate in the area where they live and finding out how your community supports you," Morse said.

Dr. Jennifer Sullivan, secretary of Indiana's Family and Social Services Administration, said she cannot imagine not having 211 throughout the vaccine effort.

"Having this tool at our fingertips really expands meeting people where they are. Helping to meet those unmet needs really reinforces that decision and partnership over time," Sullivan said.

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