BRAZOS COUNTY, Texas — There are still a lot of people around the United States needing help paying bills during the pandemic.
In the Brazos Valley, resources that give help have seen a record number of calls this year, but that doesn’t mean their work is slowing down.
According to the United Way of the Brazos Valley, their organization typically answers about 25,000 calls each fiscal year, but in their 2020 fiscal year, they have taken over 41,000 calls.
When the coronavirus started to really sink into people’s minds, the United Way’s 211 line blew up.
“What we would’ve seen for the average calls of 2019, we started to see double and then triple the amount of calls than we would’ve last year,” said Peggi Goss, the Vice President of Community Impact at the United Way of the Brazos Valley.
Calls are starting to slow back down now, but they are still close to double 2019's averages, and the need for things like housing, health care and utilities has shot up quite a bit.
United Way’s non-profit partners haven’t changed their practices though, and they are still helping everyone they can the way they did before the pandemic.
“They’re applying for more money so they’re still able to assist. So I wouldn’t say that any of our resources have gone out of business, they’ve just looked for funding in more places to provide for the need that’s out there because the need is greater,” Goss said.
The organizations have gotten money through grants, government assistance and even help from Brazos Valley residents. Sometimes the non profits may run out of money for the month, but if they do, The United Way will guide people to another resource or tell them to come back the next month.
Goss said no matter how great the need gets, she wants people to keep calling.
"We’re a statewide network," she said, "so we’re here for the Brazos Valley. So if all of our specialists are taking calls, it rolls over to our specialists in the state and they have the same information, local information like we do. So we never tell people not to call.”
You can always help give money to The United Way on their website, but if you don't have money to give, you can easily help them and the non profits they work with by filling out the 2020 census. The census lets the government know how much funding to give to different areas based on their population.