2-1-1 staff visited two sites operated by Aging Matters in Brevard in February to learn more about its programs. 2-1-1 specialists made 1,229 referrals to the nonprofit in 2014.
The sites visited: Community Kitchen in Rockledge, where as many as 2,000 meals are prepared each weekday for Meals on Wheels and congregate meals for senior citizens; and The Sunflower House in Merritt Square, which provides resources and support for older adults and caregivers.
Last year, staff from 2-1-1 Brevard staff began visits to nonprofits that receive significant numbers of referrals or that provide services that meet specific needs.
Here’s where staff went last year:
- Serene Harbor domestic violence shelter, where specialists made 232 referrals in 2013.
- Brevard County Community Action Agency, 7,505 referrals.
- Catholic Charities, 5,388 referrals.
- Salvation Army-Melbourne, 4,466 referrals.
- Florida Department of Children and Families, 1,259 referrals.
- Housing Authority of Brevard County/Melbourne Housing Authority, 844 referrals.
- Brevard County Legal Aid, 689 referrals.
- Central Brevard Sharing Center, 674 referrals.
- Brevard Drop-In Center, 58 referrals.
Original post: Bread and pastries free for the taking on table in the lobby. Boxes of cereal, cans of beans, bottles of shampoo in a storage room in the back. Rooms with bunks and trundle beds and just a few homey touches like a rug or a quilt.
Four staff members of 2-1-1 Brevard spent part of a recent afternoon touring and learning more about the Salvation Army of Melbourne, where specialists made 3,045 referrals in the past fiscal year.
The “field trip” was the first of a monthly series of site visits to agencies that receive high numbers of referrals from 2-1-1 Brevard.
“The more we know about an agency, the better we can make appropriate referrals,” said Christina Lefler, the helpline supervisor who was among the staff members on the tour.
“After we’ve visited a location and talked face to face with staff, we can better understand what they can and can’t do.”
Communications Manager Belinda Stewart is in charge of setting up the site visits as part of her role in promoting positive community relations.
“Salvation Army South is third on our list of most-frequent referrals with almost 7 percent of all referrals last year,” Stewart said. “So it was an obvious pick for one of our first visits.”
2-1-1 staff toured the Social Services area, including the food pantry, and the Sue M. Pridmore Center for Women and Children.
“We like to thank Capt. Juan Guadalupe and his staff, especially supervisor Joyce Cox, for welcoming us and letting us know how much they value our partnership in helping people,” Stewart said.
More referrals were made last year to Catholic Charities and Brevard County’s Community Action Agency, where visits are scheduled in March and April, respectively.