Archived Story

2-1-1 helps citizens find, provide help

Published 8:02pm Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Most people know that one can call 9-1-1 and 4-1-1 for help.

But the United Way funds another phone number citizens can turn to when they are in need.

The number is 2-1-1, and United Way initiative coordinator Stephan Tomlin described it as “our help line.”

“It you have any inquiry for help, you can call 2-1-1 just like you would call 4-1-1,” Tomlin said. “When you call, it let’s you enter your ZIP code so you can find the resources in your area.”

Tomlin said the number is part of a statewide program, so those in neighboring counties, such as Lee or Coosa, can call and be paired up with help in those areas.

“They can help with basic human needs such as food, rent, utility assistance and childcare,” Tomlin said. “We have even had people call for tax help and people that needed dental work done.”

But seeking help is only one part of 2-1-1’s motto of “Get help, give help.”
“People that can give help should also call 2-1-1,” Tomlin said.

This is especially important during times of emergencies, as Tomlin said 2-1-1 is useful for help pair up people whoneed help with the people in the position to give it, which helps keep non-emergency calls from being routed through 9-1-1.

While the United Way funds a variety of agencies, 2-1-1- included, the organization also helps the community it other ways through its initiatives. With its initiatives, the United Way is able to help by partnering with other organizations to provide volunteers, among other things.

“Our initiatives are about community impact – it is nothing monetary,” Tomlin said.

Tomlin said the United Way partnered with Mamie’s Place Children’s Library this past summer for the Dig into Reading program. The United Way also partners with Home Depot to allow the store to funnel grant money through the United Way in order to help local veterans.

Tomlin said the United Way recently started a health initiative through partnering with the Council for Prosperity Thru Health.

“We are really going to be a part of CPH and help them spread the word about having a healthier community,” Tomlin said. “We are excited to partner up them and allow them to host their meetings in our conference room.”

For more information on 2-1-1, visit http://www.211.org.

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