Calls to 211 Vt. help line way up from last year’s pace

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Telephone calls to a 211 assistance line run by Vermont’s United Way chapters are running at nearly double last year’s pace, as more people reach out for help to cope with the high cost of food, fuel and housing.

MaryEllen Mendl, director of the nonprofit referral center, says calls to it from around Vermont had reached 1,916 by the end of July, up from 2,089 for all of 2007.

Mendl says it’s a sign of increasing worry about Vermonters’ ability to meet rising food and fuel costs and keep a roof over their heads in difficult economic conditions.

Top requests are for help with paying for utilities, rent and transportation.

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