GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The disaster is 1,400 miles away but operators with the United Way’s 211 system in Michigan, including those at the Grand Rapid’s call center, are helping residents in the path of Hurricane Ian get the help they need.
“There’s seven call centers in the state of Michigan and we’ve all jumped in to support, to provide call support to those who are looking for loved ones, for those who are looking for resources,” said Gustavo Perez with the Heart of West Michigan United Way. “Anything from cleaning up debris to looking for additional resources and things like that that are available post-impact of the hurricane.”
The Michigan 211 Network began taking calls for help from 14 counties along Florida’s Gulf Coast Thursday. Many call centers in that region are either overwhelmed or out of order due to damage from Hurricane Ian.
“There’s a lot of people in need right now, and some of their centers are without power as many individuals in Florida are,” Perez said.
Michigan has benefited from the same cooperation between 211 centers in the past, including during the Flint water crisis and flooding in Midland.
“We have a great relationship and partnership with other 211s across the country. When we are in need, they step up,” Perez said.
If you’d like to support the Heart of West Michigan United Way’s relief efforts, visit the organization’s website here.