Finding Help: United Way to Launch 211 Service
Just as residents call 911 for emergencies and 411 for directory assistance, callers in Moore County will soon be able to dial 211 for health and human service information.
Trained referral specialists can provide information and answer questions about critical health and human services available to the community.
The United Way of Moore County will launch the 211 referral service Feb. 11. The United Way of America has declared that as National 211 Day.
The 211 referral system is free and confidential. It will quickly link residents who are seeking help with the community resources they need. The call center is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week with professionally trained and certified specialists who can assess callers' needs and make the appropriate referral using a comprehensive database of community services.
"We are currently in the process of building our county's database of services," said Linda Pearson, executive director of the United Way of Moore County. "The usefulness of the database to our residents depends greatly on the cooperation of many health and human service agencies and organizations in the community."
The database will include all Moore County government services, United Way agencies, nonprofit organizations that provide health or human service, and other organizations such as FirstHealth and Saint Joseph of the Pines.
"We are extremely excited that United Way has brought the 211 service to our area," said Susan Bellew, executive director of Family Promise of Moore County, one of the organizations that will be listed in 211's database. "It really streamlines the process of getting people in need in contact with those who can help them."
The service will also connect residents who want to help appropriate agencies, such as volunteering or contributing money or other aid.
Health and human services organizations, including police, fire and emergency services in Moore County, that have not submitted information for inclusion into the 211 database should submit their information as soon as possible or contact the United Way at 692-2413 to receive data forms, according to Pearson.
The 211 number provides access to resources for basic human needs such as food, clothing, shelter, rent and utility assistance, physical and mental health resources, employment support, assistance for the elderly and persons with disabilities, and support for children, youth and families. It will also provide information on volunteer opportunities with the various agencies and how to make donations.
The database will also include information regarding transportation, consumer services, criminal justice and legal services, education, environmental quality and health care.
"With 211, if you need to know where to donate your old stove, where to go to renew your passport, where to get a flu shot, or what adult day care is available, you will simply dial 211," Pearson said. "If you've got a craft you'd like to share with others as a volunteer, 211 can guide you to an agency that could use your skills. It's an easy-to-remember number that allows people to give help and to get help."
The United Way of Moore County is working with United Way of North Carolina to bring 211 to Moore County residents. More than 60 percent of North Carolinians currently have access to 211. Neighboring Lee, Randolph and Chatham counties already have 211 in place. Cumberland, Richmond and Harnett counties are expected to have access soon.
Pearson added that 211 helps to maintain the integrity of the 911 system by diverting nonemergency calls to 211. She said that 211 potentially frees up the 911 system for the purpose for which it was intended, handling emergencies.
Anyone needing more information about 211 or to list a nonprofit service in the database can call the United Way of Moore County at 692-2413.
Contact Laura Eddy by e-mail at email@example.com.
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