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Melissa's 2-1-1 Success Story

A Photo of Donated Food at a Food Bank

Putting Food on the Table

Melissa, a resident of Adams County, is no stranger to fighting for her survival. She has lived with mental disabilities for most of her life, including a brain tumor and COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease), and has struggled through more physical and emotional battles than any person should endure in a single lifetime. However, her most recent bout had nothing to do with disease or injury, but rather a lack of a vital life necessity:  the ability to put food on the table.

Melissa has never been without the care of someone else, so when she decided to rent a place on her own, the transition was anything but smooth. Before she could even grasp her situation financially, she first had to learn to overcome the challenge of living on her own. “I didn’t know what to do,” Melissa recalls, “I don’t have any family, no one to help me, and all my money was going to rent.”

As the end of Melissa’s first month living independently came closer, her food supply slowly dwindled until she had little left to eat. Because of her disabilities, she was unable to drive to any food pantries. After exhausting her available resources, she decided to call Mile High United Way’s 2-1-1. “I’m not even sure how I heard of 2-1-1 before I decided to call. It could have been from a food pantry, but I needed help, and the number just popped into my head,” she stated, remembering the tough circumstances she endured.

After talking to one of 2-1-1’s trained referral specialists, Melissa was referred to five resources, including Calvary Chapel Food Pantry. Calvary Chapel was not only able to help her get the food she needed, but they also delivered it straight to her door. Melissa stated, “Without 2-1-1 or Calvary Chapel, I wouldn’t have been able to eat. I don’t know where my next meal would have come from.”

It’s anecdotes like this that encompass the true magnitude of impact from 2-1-1 and its community partners. Melissa’s willingness to tell her story coupled with her heartfelt gratitude gave us a glimpse into a world unknown to many.  And she’s not alone, last year over 114,000 people called 2-1-1 for help with vital services such as rent, food, shelter, disaster recovery assistance and more. Mile High United Way partners with around 1,500 agencies to provide information on more than 4,500 services in the Denver Metro area through 2-1-1.