By LaDelle Kay
INFOline Program Manager
As I wrote last week, I love festivals and celebrations! This week we’re celebrating the 9th anniversary of GLUW’s INFOline of Gregg County. It seems like yesterday that we began and yet so much longer. So many things have happened as we grew from the birthing process to where we are today with calls totaling 39,500 plus!
INFOline began as a dream over 10 years ago when several people in the community sensed the need of a community free, confidential information and referral system. Their vision was to bridge the gap between people needing resources or information and the health and human service organizations with resources to meet the need. As they researched ways to make this dream become a reality, one of the members became aware of a grant through the state for this type of service to benefit especially low income residents. INFOline of Gregg County was implemented with a $100,000 which covered most of the first 2 years. Greater Longview United Way provides the major funding for the program. INFOline publishes a Resource Directory with detailed listings of 161 organizations and 523 programs. In addition, the Directory is online on our website.
As I think back over the many calls during these 9 years, I think of the faces behind those calls and celebrate when we know that we have been able to get people in touch with the resources they need. It also saddens me when I have to tell the caller that we’re unable to help because the resources have been exhausted due to the rapidly increasing needs. When we’re unable to give them exactly what they are seeking, many times we are able to press further in the conversation and find other ways to help them. An example is if rental assistance is not available, we ask if they have utility bills and maybe they can use an agency to get that paid and use that money toward rent. We encourage them to take advantage of free courses in money management offered by some agencies.
I am so privileged to have had the opportunity to implement this program as program manager and see it grow from it’s inception to a well-recognized, reliable community service. Sometimes we get a blessing from helping others, but we are especially blessed to live in a community where people work together to improve the quality of life.