By Stefanie Bainum
CHARLESTON, SC (WCIV) -- Cookie Washington says she called the 2-1-1 hotline in the worst moment of her life.
"I called hotline and someone said to me, ‘Are you safe?' and knowing that someone cared about my safety at a time when I was really unsafe was so very important," said Cookie Washington.
Washington is one of nearly half a million people in the Lowcountry over the past 10 years, who may have given up on life if it wasn't for the support received from one simple phone call.
"I thought, ‘Wow someone cares that I'm safe,' when I felt that I didn't even deserve to have that safety. It really was an important moment in turning my life around," Washington says.
The free and confidential around the clock crisis hotline celebrates its 10th year of service on Monday and in those years a team of intensively trained staff and volunteers have made sure no call ever goes unanswered.
"We receive calls about everything and we invite anyone to call us as a place to start and for people who are wrestling with anxiety, depression, people that need food, people with family issues, work problems, stress and don't we all have that," Charlotte Anderson, VP of 2-1-1 services says.
Anderson of Trident United Way says the beauty of the hotline is that there is no judgment; folks just want to help day or night with whatever the community needs.
"We are there for whoever is struggling with whatever they are struggling with and anytime 24/7," Anderson says.
Calls are increasing in the area and the hotline received 48,000 calls just last year, according to Trident United Way.
"It's so important to know that you are anonymous and that you are safe and that's one thing that you really feel when you are calling," Washington says. "You're going to be safe, you are going to be heard, you are going to be understood, and get the information that you need."
If you would like to help out the cause and volunteer just call the hotline at 2-1-1 to get involved.