Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Pinellas (Florida) CVM blog launches

Another Community Voice Mail blog has launched! Pinellas CVM provided more than 1,000 clients in Pinellas County (Florida) with free voice mail last year, and will use the blog to post weekly announcements regarding special campaigns, projects, events and other important resources. If you're a CVM client in Pinellas, work for an agency that distributes CVM number, or just want to hear about information of value to low-income and homeless people in Pinellas, please visit the blog.

Pinellas CVM is proudly sponsored by 2-1-1 Tampa Bay Cares.

Friday, February 13, 2009

CVM Partners with the CDC to Tell 10,000 About the Peanut Product Recall

This past week, we partnered with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to distribute information about the peanut-containing product recall to our clients. Thus far, we've directly reached more than 10,000 homeless or low-income people in 24 cities who don't have a reliable phone, but who do have a Community Voice Mail number. We've also provided this information to over 400 social service agencies who provide CVM voice mail boxes to their clients.

How did we do this? We used our technology and our (human) network. Using our voice mail system, we delivered a broadcast voice message written by the CDC to the voice mail boxes of 10,000 of our clients. We also sent the same information in text form to more than 1,000 CVM clients who have provided us with their email addresses. Our CVM Managers contacted the 400 social service agencies by email and through broadcast voice messaging (every case manager in our network gets a voice mail box). We posted the messages on all the CVM blogs as well. It was easy. (Click here to listen to the broadcast voice message our CVM Manager in Tulsa, Oklahoma sent to her 450 active clients.)

People who don't have a phone, a stable place to live or a stable life don't always hear about important information that is assumed to be ubiquitous. As our Houston CVM manager (Scot) learned last year, many people living on the streets there didn't even know that Hurricane Ike was approaching, and his broadcast voice message about seeking shelter probably saved lives. We hope that these messages about the peanut product recall help our clients (and their friends/loved ones) stay safe. Many have already told us by return voice message that they hadn't heard about the recall, and would check their food against the CDC list.

In the future, we hope do more communication work with CDC, the FDA and other partners to disseminate important information to a population that is very difficult to reach. If you have information of value to lower-income and homeless people that you'd like to get out, email or call (206-441-7872) us.

Valentine's Day at the Tulsa CVM Agency

Here's a nice article about how people at the Tulsa Day Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma celebrated Valentine's Day this year. The Day Center is the host of the Tulsa Community Voice Mail program. There's also a video link in the article that gives you a better sense of the events of the day.

People who are experiencing homelessness and other difficulties don't just need a job and a place to live.

(Photo: Mike Simons /Tulsa World)

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Peanut Butter Recall: Great Use of Information Distribution by the Federal Government

Three federal agencies have collaborated to create a great set of resources for getting the word out about the peanut butter/peanut-containing product recall, using just about every social networking tool in the toolkit. If you're an online kind of person and seeking information about this issue, there aren't many ways to get information that they haven't thought of.

The resources are listed on the site created by the Centers for Disease Control, the Food and Drug Administration, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. They've made available blogs, e-cards, podcasts, video, web sites and widgets. You can receive info via Twitter, RSS, and email, through your own social networks (MySpace, etc.) and even visit a Second Life site or get a lot of this data on your mobile phone. It's a pretty comprehensive list, and a good example of "meeting people where they're at" instead of relying on people to root around for information on their own.

Oh, and there's also a 24-hour toll-free English/Spanish hotline (1-800-232-4636, TTY: (888) 232-6348) where you can talk to a real human and find out about specific products on the recall list. Community Voice Mail is partnering with the CDC to send broadcast voice and email messages about the recall to tens of thousands of our clients around the country, as well as to the agencies they're working with. Lower-income people often don't have access to information like this. Perfect use for Community Voice Mail.

Kudos to these federal agencies for these efforts!