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2-1-1 helps deliver services
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Louise Lovette shows off her new range to Christy Edwards, Savannah 2-1-1 program manager. - photo by Alena Parker / Coastal Courier
The ink was hardly dry on a Hinesville Mayor Jim Thomas proclamation naming Feb. 11 National 2-1-1 Day when program staffers were off to follow up on a call to the information service.
Thursday, Christy Edwards, Savannah 2-1-1 program manager, and Leah Poole, Liberty Conty United Way executive director, honored the proclamation signing by visiting a resident who had called the three-digit help line and gotten the necessary assistance, without being put on hold or transferred to an automated service.
Louise Lovette of Hinesville called 2-1-1 and received a new 30-inch gas stove and oven Jan. 22 after her old stove stopped working and the model went out of production ten years ago.
Lovette's call was eventually referred to the United Way's Homes and Heartwarming, a partnership with Atlanta Gas Light. From the time Lovette called, it took roughly two weeks to receive the knock on her door for delivery and installation of the stove.  
"It's a blessing to have this kind of service," she said.
Lovette learned about 2-1-1 from a newspaper ad and said she has always had an "inquiring mind," so she "dialed and someone answered."
Edwards said 2-1-1 "connects callers in need to local resources."
The line is available 24/7, directing calls to the United Way during normal business hours and transferring calls to an Atlanta office after hours.
Edwards described the process as "streamlining."
"By having one access point to several services, you actually end up saving taxpayers money," she said.
"(We) use National 2-1-1 Day on a local level to raise awareness what 2-1-1 does and to encourage those who have not called before to call," Edwards said.
She said she shared in Lovette's joy.
"This reminds why I do my job," she said.
Liberty County began participating in 2-1-1 in 2006 and had more than 800 calls last year.
Since its beginning in 2001, the five-county service area has received more than 51,000 calls and 70 percent of the country now has access to 2-1-1.
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