211 is a Statewide Resource that Serves People at Critical Moments

Heather Pierce, pictured above, helped establish the 211 Information and Referral service at United Way of the Plains in 2006. She manages the 211 specialist team and oversees the statewide network database as the 211 Coordinator for United Way of the Plains.

Each of you reading this will likely come across someone in the near future who has experienced a tragedy and needs help. It can be overwhelming trying to navigate the social service system to find the right place for assistance, especially when you’re experiencing a crisis. That’s where 211 Information and Referral can help. It’s a vital state-wide service with a variety of connection tools that provides free and confidential assistance. 2-1-1 is an easy to remember phone number that Kansans can use to find out about social services and resources available in their area. Trained specialists are ready to respond 24/7. They listen with empathy to the situation and then research the best options for assistance in the client’s community. They are also available Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. to chat online or respond to text messages.

It’s been my honor to answer the 211 helpline for the last 17 years. During this time, our 211 system has responded over 1.3 million times to requests for help. The heart of what we do is provide a human connection when someone is in need. I have walked frightened women through their options as they leave an abusive relationship. I have listened to an elderly gentleman in tears as he mourns his wife who always took care of the bills and now, he’s fallen behind on his utility payments. People have reached out when they’ve decided they are ready to walk the road of sobriety. Worried parents have called because they fear their teenager may harm themselves. Neighbors have phoned because they’re concerned that the family across the street with the new baby may not have enough diapers or formula to get through the month.

No matter the situation our 211 specialists are here to listen and walk alongside the client in connecting them with helpful resources and solutions. We want to make 211 as easy as possible to access so we offer options to call, text, chat or search online. This vital service operates without federal, state or local government funding. It’s available to Kansans in their darkest times every hour of every day because of the generosity of people and companies who donate year-round to United Way of the Plains. As we celebrate National 211 Day on February 11, I want to personally thank our donors for supporting and caring about their fellow Kansans. Your generosity for 211 makes the connection from “hello to hope” possible.

Need help? Dial 2-1-1 (24/7). Text your ZIP code to 898-211. Use the online chat function at unitedwayplains.org/211 (Monday – Friday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.). Search online at 211Kansas.org. Learn more about 211 and donation options at unitedwayplains.org.


Published On: February 7, 2023Tags:


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