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United Way offers 211 network

The 211 Impact Survey Results reveal that in 2020 alone, the 211 network made 27.8 million connections to critical services and help. This an increase of nearly 100% from the 14 million connections in 2019. Locally, in West Virginia, specialists responded to over 20,000 calls. The most notable increase for 2020 is a 150% increase in connections to food programs. This increase in calls to 211 for help highlights the magnitude of the need for human services as the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted millions of lives in 2020.

211 is a free and confidential service that helps people across North America find local resources when they are in crisis. The West Virginia United Way Collaborative operates West Virginia 211, providing information on more than 12,000 services across a variety of human services. With a presence in all 55 counties and more than 96% of U.S. communities, 211 is the most comprehensive source of information about local resources and services in the country. Each trained specialist is local to his/her community and is equipped to identify the appropriate resources and advocate for those who need support.

To help more people learn about the 211 resource, the Ad Council, United Way Worldwide and the Rockefeller Foundation announced a new partnership and campaign to launch a new Public Service Announcement (PSA) titled Guiding Light. The Guiding Light campaign aims to encourage those who may still be feeling the economic, social and other impacts in the wake of the pandemic to call 211 or visit 211.org for support and resources.

“Here in West Virginia, the problems of COVID-19 aren’t over. Unfortunately, there are many people who don’t know how to access local resources to help them navigate challenges they may be facing,” said Margaret O’Neal, President of West Virginia 211. “211 is the go-to resource, but more people need to know about it, and I am grateful that the Guiding Light PSA will help more people in West Virginia get access to the services that could help them on the path to recovery.”

The Guiding Light campaign includes online video, broadcast, radio spots, digital media and outdoor advertising in both English and Spanish, illustrating 211 as the guiding light for families who are struggling financially or emotionally. From food assistance and help paying bills to health care answers and mental health resources, 211 can be the guiding light when times get dark.

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