Neighbor 2 Neighbor

(Wednesday, September 17th @ 8:30 AM)

I am sitting here at my desk…waiting for my traffic segment to come up. We have these unusually long stints without traffic in the show, since we continue to cover so much of Ike’s aftermath. Once again our show began at 4 AM this morning and our Neighbor 2 Neighbor call center began at 6:30AM. I have been hosting that part of our show for the past couple of days and wanted to share my experience with you.

Jen gathering information to say on-air

Jen gathering information to say on-air

After reporting the latest in traffic, I switch gears around noon by answering questions from the public. I dont sit and man-a-phone, per se…because I am walking around helping our volunteers find the answers to your questions. The calls that I do handle are usually those with a more difficult answer or one that requires more attention. We first set the call center up to help “spread the word.” The “word” about ANYTHING and EVERYTHING. Where are the open gas stations? Help me find the nearest POD. Is the City of Kemah open? What is the Harris County curfew? I need access to a computer. What if I am almost out of heart medication? When will my power be turned back on? I need a generator. How do I find my lost pet? These are just some of the thousands of questions that come into our Neighbor 2 Neighbor call center. No question is too simple or stupid. Some callers don’t even have questions…they just want to vent or talk to someone. By the end of the call…I try to make sure that each person has an answer or feels a sense of relief. I really love working the phones! It doesn’t matter if someone is yelling at me or crying their heart out…I know that I am going to try my best to leave them with a smile.

Working with the vlounteers who manned the call center

Working with the volunteers who manned the call center

Take for example, a twenty-year old woman who lives “out in the country,” near Splendora. Splendora is in Montgomery County off of 59 the Eastex freeway, north of New Caney and even further north of Humble and Kingwood. It’s a town witha population of about 1500 people. Our caller said she was 7 months pregnant and that the storm left her family withno water or electricity. The nearest POD is about 30 miles away and her town does not provide public transportation. To make matters even worse, she has a few farm animals to feed. Frustration grew as she continually called 311 for 2 hours as it rang busy. We were her last bit of hope for the “basics,” like drinking water. Her plea did not go unanswered.

Answering the hotline

Answering the hotline

What breaks my heart too…are the elderly who call. Some sound frightened, others just weary. One lady, very polite and sincere, just didnt know what to do after her Wheel On Meals stopped arriving. Some have trouble getting around their own house, so it makes me pause and wonder what they have done for the past 4 days. Four days can feel very long when you don’t have power, water or a pantry of food. I suppose they had a couple of days worth…and are running low now.  

If you think that we can help, give us a call at 713-271-1905 (6:30AM-6:30PM).

By the way, we couldnt help those in our community without the volunteers that choose to team up with us. They are regular folks who come in to make a difference. Your neighbors and I thank you for being so compassionate.

The volunteers taking calls

The volunteers taking calls

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