With 211, You are Never Alone

Meet Herman.

Herman was enjoying retirement with his wife in a Cleveland suburb. They had planned carefully for their retirement and were living on a modest budget. But, then, Herman’s wife became ill. Her condition required medication to control her symptoms and to delay the progression of her disease. Their monthly co-pay was more than they could afford. This unplanned monthly cost ate through their savings and they had to start making difficult decisions – should they pay for medication or utilities or groceries?

Herman had never been in this position before. He had never needed assistance and didn’t know where to turn. A friend told him about 211. He called and asked about food assistance.

The 211 Navigator provided referrals for a food pantry but she didn’t stop there. She asked a series of questions and learned that Herman’s financial difficulties were related to prescription costs. She immediately connected Herman with Christie, a Med Refer Specialist for 211.

Christie worked with Herman for over two months, helping him apply to prescription assistance programs. Navigating these complex systems can be difficult without guidance and Christie’s perseverance paid off. She was able to find a program that was a perfect fit for Herman’s wife and made their co-pay manageable.

Christie and Herman still talk periodically. “It makes my heart so happy to hear the joy in his voice every time we talk,” said Christie. “I am so thankful that I could help Herman find peace of mind – he no longer has to worry about whether it is going to be food, or heat, or medication this month.”

Herman is not alone. In what should be their golden years, many of our community’s senior citizens are struggling. More than 25% of them have to choose between paying for food or utilities, medical care and housing. 211 is always here to help.

“The one thing about 211 is people think it’s specific to food and utilities, but we really can help with anything. I always encourage people if they have a need, just call. We have 16,000 services in our database that can help individuals find things they need in the community.”

Franco Formicelli, Director of United Way of Greater Cleveland's 211