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Residents Relying On United Way Post-Sandy

The United Way of Westchester and Putnam is working overtime to assist those in need.

As residents are recovering from Hurricane Sandy and facing days without power in the Hudson Valley, the United Way is working overtime to assist.

"The 2-1-1 lines are open and we have a full amount of people calling in," Shannon Cobb, Senior Vice President, Marketing and Communications of the United Way of Westchester and Putnam said.

On Tuesday, call center specialists and volunteers manned the 30 phone lines of the 2-1-1 helpline and the United Way is working 24 hours each day until the need for the helpline subsides, Cobb noted.

All residents are able to call 2-1-1 for updated information. For those without phone access, and for those who still have internet access, many questions can be answered on the 2-1-1 website. Go to www.hudson211.org for shelter information, storm updates, school closings, road closings and more.

The helpline saw a "dramatic increase" in searches on their website from Monday to Tuesday, with 37,000 searches on Monday and a whopping 103,000 searches on Tuesday, Cobb said.

On Monday, over 800 residents called 2-1-1 seeking resources and information.

"A lot of people are calling still about shelters," Cobb said. Many, especially those with special needs, medical needs or the elderly, need a warm place to rest, take medication and have assistance.

"When the cell phone dies, the disabled or elderly really need to be in a shelter," she said.

Many calls are from folks concerned about food safety, worried about getting to work or if they are allowed to stay home from work if the travel is not safe, she noted.

Several calls have come in from big-hearted donors seeking to make monetary donations or volunteer their time, Cobb said. 

Residents throughout the Hudson Valley are encouraged to call 2-1-1 at any time, 24 hours a day, with non-emergency related issues. For an emergency, folks must dial 9-1-1.

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