I was talking to a 59-year-old man who called 2-1-1 for food. As we began discussing some options, I realized the situation was far more complex than just a matter of finding him some groceries. The gentleman told me he was living in an unfurnished apartment, and dealing with spinal cord injuries that impair his movement.

When I asked him if had any food left in his home, and if he had a comfortable space to sleep, he stated he had a chair, a blanket and a single can of soup. Even if he could have comfortably travelled to a food pantry, he didn't have a pen or paper to write down the address or hours of the resources I'd normally provide.

Knowing he would need to navigate through complex intake processes with several programs, I asked permission to make a call on his behalf to an agency that could check in on him, bring him food, and work with him on improving his living situation. Later that day, after I worked with a local organization to arrange for some assistance, I checked back in with my caller.

He had received food, and had been assigned to a case manager, with whom I periodically follow up to check in and make sure my caller is getting the help he needs.

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