Saturday, February 11, is National 2-1-1 Day. This day recognizes the non-emergency three-digit dialing code used by a free, local program that connects community members to health and human services available in their area.
In Marathon County just over 8,000 calls were made to United Way’s 2-1-1 by individuals looking for help last year. People called to find help for meeting basic needs – like heat, rent, or food assistance – but they also called for everyday information; to find out where to find child care support, how to locate employment assistance, or find free tax filing help.
When an individual calls 2-1-1, they are connected to a trained Information Specialist who listens to their need and searches a comprehensive database of human service referrals to find programs that best fit their situation. These Specialists can help callers find out how to access these services.
For example, “Mary” was facing a weekend without food. She did not know of any food pantries in her area that would be open before the week was out, so she called United Way’s 2-1-1 for help. An Information Specialist let Mary know about a neighborhood pantry that would be able to accommodate her need. In a follow-up call, Mary shared that she had gotten help with enough food to hold her over through the weekend and that she was very grateful for the help.
United Ways across the country have been long-standing supporters and the national leaders in increasing access and availability of 2-1-1 services. As the largest private funder of the 2-1-1 network, United Ways continue to strengthen and support 2-1-1 as another way to build stronger communities. 2-1-1 call data also provides a valuable snapshot of local needs.
If you or someone you know is in need of assistance in Marathon, Portage, Lincoln, Oneida, or Vilas Counties, simply dial 2-1-1 to speak with an Information Specialist, 24/7. You can also reach United Way’s 2-1-1 by dialing 715-848-2255 or 1-800-922-5590. A language interpreter service is available if needed. Uncomfortable speaking by phone? Email an Information Specialist at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit the website at http://www.unitedwaymc.org/get-help/ to search the online database or view resource publications.