Editor’s note: This is part of a weekly series of articles on partner agencies that benefit from contributions through the United Way Campaign, which continues through February 2019. A different non-profit agency providing services to people in need throughout Southwest Florida will be featured until the end of the campaign. Today:
Child Care of Southwest Florida, which has a mission to strengthen and enhance the lives of children, as well as their families.
In anticipation of 2-1-1 Day on February 11, the United Way 211 Program wants to express our sincere appreciation for our community’s continued commitment and support for the United Way 211 service. Last year, our United Way 211 Call Center fielded over 59,000 calls from people seeking help—with many of our callers seeking help for the very first time. We recorded over 45,000 referrals to community organizations.
On 2-1-1 Day, we celebrate the many donors, volunteers, and dedicated staff who support the United Way 211 and the partners to whom we refer callers. We celebrate that in our community, we take care of each other. We know that a thriving community means everyone deserves an opportunity to succeed in school, work, and life.
United Way 211 has been an important part of our community for the past 15 years. Some of you may be saying, “What is United Way 211?” United Way 211 is a free, confidential helpline for everyone and serves as a comprehensive Information and Referral service to health and human services in our community. The line is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. When someone calls United Way 211 they will be connected with a compassionate, highly trained service professional in our community who will help them navigate the network of health and human services they need in the most efficient and effective way possible.
United Way 211 relies heavily on the collaboration of our human services network. Our partners are as passionate as we are to help the residents of our community. By building relationships with all of our partners in the community, United Way 211 has up-to-date resources for callers.
Calls to United Way 211 range in need and our service professionals are ready to assist with a variety of situations. One of the programs within the United Way 211 program is Mission United. Mission United serves as a single phone point of entry utilizing the 211 number to help local United States active military, veterans, and their families in Lee, Hendry, and Glades counties. Last year, Mission United assessed 1,634 calls.
United Way 211 mobilizes in our community during times of disaster or increased need. Serving the community before, during, and after Hurricane Irma, United Way 211 service professionals took over 40,000 calls to direct residents to shelters, Points of Distribution (PODs), and many other resources. Recently, United Way 211 was on-site at mobile food pantries for Federal employees during the government shut-down.
Most important, is the day-to-day service that United Way 211 offers to residents in need. Recently, United Way 211 received a call from a woman requesting assistance with her prescription medications that she was unable to afford. A referral was made to the Prescription Assistance program that helps individuals in need get their medications at a reduced price. During the 10 day follow-up call, the client reported that she was able to get her medications free for a year, which provided her additional time to develop a plan for obtaining prescription coverage in the future.
Linda Hafner is vice-president of United Way 211.
United Way 211 is a program of the United Way of Lee, Hendry, Glades, and Okeechobee. Your gift to United Way makes a difference for thousands of people in our community. Join us next week to learn more about your United Way. Visit us at www.UnitedWayLee.org to explore more or safely make a donation.