Wisconsin Rapids Mayor Mary Jo Carson and Marshfield Mayor Chris Meyer have officially proclaimed February 11, 2011 “United Way’s 2-1-1 Day” in their cities.
To celebrate, United Way’s 2-1-1 is launching the “Get Connected. Get Answers. Blog” to connect residents to community resources, upcoming events, trainings and more. At the blog, found at www.unitedways211.blogspot.com, residents and professionals of the 14 county service area can view a calendar of events, share resources and receive real time updates by subscribing to the RSS Feed.
In conjunction with the 2-1-1 Blog, the current 2-1-1 Resources List Serve will become a free monthly e-newsletter to highlight the calendar of events and share more information about 2-1-1 call trends and service area programs. Members of the current list serve will be automatically subscribed to the monthly e-newsletter, and when the number of subscribers reaches 211, United Way’s 2-1-1 will hold a drawing and give away a gift basket filled with prizes! The winner will be drawn from blog and email subscribers.
United Way’s 2-1-1 is a free and confidential three digit number you can dial to receive information and referrals to local community resources. It is available 24/7. Commonly asked questions range from “I have something to donate – what agencies are taking donations?” to “I’m going to get laid off soon and I’m worried about my family’s finances.”
In 2010, United Way’s 2-1-1 received a total of 5,638 calls. Some of the top needs for the year were rental payment assistance, electric service/energy/heating fuel payment assistance, financial assistance, and inquiries about the Aging and Disability Resource Center. In 2009, United Way’s 2-1-1 received 4,262 calls.
“There are lots of ways to celebrate 2-1-1 Day,” said Cynthia Brundage, United Way’s 2-1-1 Program Director. “You can request free materials - like posters, magnets and fact cards - and distribute them at work, church or any other organization you are involved in. You can visit our Website at www.getconnected211.org and learn more about 2-1-1, download some free directories, or access our online database of community resources,” said Brundage.
“You can also volunteer for United Way’s 2-1-1,” said Brundage. “We are looking for people to help out in the call center, or to help distribute materials in the 14 counties the call center covers.”
“Or, if you have a friend, family member or neighbor who is going through a difficult time,” said Brundage, “you can dial 2-1-1 and speak to a resource specialist. Our staff is trained to help you navigate the multitude of resources that are out there, and find a starting point.”
Not only does United Way’s 2-1-1 offer information and referral, but it is involved in many collaborative efforts and community initiatives, offering information about local trends.
“United Way’s 2-1-1 can also be a very useful tool in getting the word out,” said Brundage. “Agencies and programs that need to get out a lot of information in a timely fashion can contact us, provide us with information and promote us as the contact. Stuff the School Bus is an excellent example of this.”
Any non-profit organization, religious entity or government agency who provides health or human services to the public can have information added to United Way’s 2-1-1 Database. Once in the database, information is updated annually or when requested by a provider of service. Additionally, the Get Connected Get Answers Blog and e-newsletter is a way to send/receive information about local events and other information that does not fit the traditional mold.
“Learning more about our communities is one way to ‘advocate’… and to LIVE UNITED!” said Brundage. “We encourage you to get to know this valuable resource in our communities.”
About United Way’s 2-1-1
United Way’s 2-1-1 is a non-profit organization based in south Wood County and is governed collaboratively between United Way of Inner Wisconsin and Marshfield Area United Way. The 2-1-1 call center serves Wood, Adams, Juneau, Clark, Taylor, Rusk, Price, Barron, Sawyer, Washburn, Burnett, Ashland, Bayfield and Iron Counties.