United Way 211 (Image: WTVC)

CHATTANOOGA, Tennessee –

While many hundreds of thousands of federal employees are struggling to pay their bills, an agency in our area is helping to provide a respite.

Great Chattanooga United Way employees are trying to make a difference for federal employees who do not receive a pay check, one call at a time.

Through its 211 Hotline, Centraide helps people in need connect to the region's resources.

The phone line rings all year round, but since this stop directly affects active families and generally pays well, some roles have been reversed.

For more than 15 years, Diane Jarvis has been answering this phone and helping those on the other side of the world.

Recently, she won a new set of clients: federal employees. In some cases, those who have already donated to this non-profit organization are now forced to rely on his services.

"The most difficult thing that we have with this type of client is to get them to ask for help.They have been so self-reliant and it is they who have been our donors, those who have been given to d & # 39; 39 other people and now we're saying now, "said Jarvis, director of 211 United Way.

Until now, United Way has only received a few calls from federal workers in need. However, Julia Wilhelm, strategist of the content of the non-profit organization, says that closing is no end, she is preparing for the long term.

"We are preparing to help perhaps an additional population beyond what these people are already helping, so it is not our hope, but we are ready to offer this service to these people as well," he said. Wilhelm.

The government's closure also affects families not employed by the federal government. Users of the additional nutritional assistance program will receive their benefits early, at the end of the month. But will not get anymore until at least March.

Here's their advice for SNAP users:

"Use them well, ration them, children do not know that there is a problem and they eat everything in the house, so now they will have to lock things down to make sure They last all day, "said Jarvis.

It's been weeks that United Way is getting ready, but since this is the longest stop in US history, they say they wade into unknown waters.

The United Way's 211 program helps more than 38,000 people each year in the Chattanooga area. The hotline is open every day of the week from 8:30 to 17:00.