Sunday, December 16th, 2018

United Way celebrates 15 years of 2-1-1

Posted: Thursday, December 6, 2018

United Way 2-1-1 celebrated its 15th anniversary on November 15. The resource and information referral center has been an integral part of the Northeast Indiana region since 2003, answering more than half a million calls, offering not only resources but also hope to millions of people in our region.

2-1-1 is a national dialing code for free, confidential 24-hour access to health and human services, such as housing, shelter, food, legal aid, clothing, counseling, utility assistance, health care, transportation and more. Community Navigators are trained to identify callers’ needs and determine what agency or program will best meet their needs.

According to Kyle Metzger, president and CEO of the United Way of Huntington County, “People contact 2-1-1 for many different reasons. At times it’s because someone they care about is struggling or they just need assistance during a difficult time. Other times it is because an unexpected life change has left them with questions about how to make it through. But always, when people call 2-1-1 it’s because 2-1-1 is a trusted source of information.”

The seed for 2-1-1 was planted in 1983, when International Harvester closed, devastating many local families. At the time, there was an existing 24/7 crisis hotline in the community, Switchboard, Inc., that was identified to fill the need of helping the thousands of displaced Harvester employees locate community resources to assist them. As a result, First Call for Help was launched as a comprehensive information and referral program in the spring of 1983. It remained under Switchboard, Inc. until that agency dissolved in August 1999. The program was then managed by Family & Children Services for two years until 2001, when First Call for Help became a program of United Way. During that two-year period, First Call for Help became involved in the Indiana 211 Initiative. In 2003, 2-1-1 was born when the call center answered Indiana’s first call from the national dialing code: 2-1-1.

“2-1-1 impacts lives every day by educating callers about the thousands of resources our communities have to offer and empowers those who need them to use them. The United Way is proud to serve as the trusted connection between the community and agencies for the last 15 years and look forward to the future,” said Metzger.

The United Way of Huntington County is a not-for-profit organization that works to strengthen the community through education, health and wellness and financial stability. United Way 2-1-1 is one of the programs that helps break down community barriers and creates lasting change within our neighborhoods. For more information, please visit www.unitedwayhuntingtoncounty.org.