Free reassurance phone calls available for the homebound

Sometimes, all it takes is a quick phone call to brighten someone’s day.

Phyllis Roth makes a couple hundred calls every time she volunteers at the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay. She's a telephone reassurance operator. The free program helps people in the community who are homebound, elderly, and disabled. About 160 people are on the call list.

"I come in and I listen to these people and by the time I leave I’ve got a big smile because I know I've done something worthwhile," she said.

Many of the people Phyllis talks to live alone. They have no friends, family or support system. For some of them, Phyllis is their only connection to the outside world.

"They don't hear from anybody. They're so lonely; they don't know what to do with themselves," said Phyllis.

Sometimes, it’s a quick social call. Other times, it’s a health and wellness check.  

"Please don't skip meals it's really bad for you. And I hope you're doing well. I would definitely make an appointment with the doctor," Phyllis told one of her clients.

Phyllis has been volunteering at the Crisis Center for five years and knows the difference her calls make to a person alone and in need.

"You can hear how much somebody appreciates that you called," explained Phyllis.

And she always ends each call with something her clients can look forward to -- reassurance that they'll hear from her again.

**If you, or someone you know could benefit from the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay's Telephone Reassurance program, or if you'd like to volunteer, call 2-1-1. Support is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.