The Dane County Timebank will be launching its new multi-purpose community helpline on Monday, Nov. 9.
The helpline will serve a variety of community needs, such as: distributing referrals for COVID-19 relief (i.e. food, transportation, etc), access to support and community-building for youth involved with restorative justice, providing a place for people to report instances of racism, an alternative to calling 911 on Black people, and a space for callers to de-stress via one-on-one conversations with staff members.
The Restorative Justice Director for the Dane County Timebank, Dr. Damita Brown, noted that the helpline was created in response to exacerbated disparities brought on by the current global health crisis.
“The helpline wanted to create an opportunity for people to be able to call in and get access to resources that are related to relief around the pandemic, but also to report incidents of racism that people experience and to give people an alternative to abusing 911 and using 911 in a racist way against Black and brown,” Brown said.
Brown also noted that the helpline will be a place for people to seek emotional relief, and receive a “sympathetic ear” to listen to their concerns and stresses.
However, the helpline is not a crisis line. As such, if callers require assistance beyond the abilities or scope of the Dane County Timebank helpline, helpline staff can refer callers to other services that may better suit their needs.
Currently, the Dane County Timebank is engaging in outreach to make the helpline’s existence known and available for the public prior to its launch.
“We’re doing a mailing up postcard mailing, a community based flyering. And also just putting announcements in newsletters to make sure people know about it, and also to recruit volunteers to staff [the helpline,]” said Brown.
Starting on November 9th, the helpline will be available to the public and can be reached at 1-866-758-7887.