STERLING – Whiteside County residents seeking health and human services now can call 2-1-1 from their phones for help.
United Way of Whiteside County had an event Friday at Woodlawn Arts Academy to launch the Illinois 2-1-1, Get Connected, Get Answers service. It’s the county’s first 2-1-1 phone system, a free and confidential information and referral line. It attempts to connect people to necessary local services, such as finding a food pantry, help paying utility bills, or suicide prevention services.
The service is in partnership with PATH – a 2-1-1 call center in Bloomington – and United Way of Illinois.
“With many nonprofit organizations in Whiteside County, finding help can be confusing and intimidating,” United Way of Whiteside County Executive Director Russell Siefken Jr. said. “Those organizations who want to give help may not know where to begin.
“With United Way 2-1-1, we’re breaking down the barriers between those who need help and those who can help them.”
The system can translate for nearly 160 languages. Trained volunteer operators schedule a follow-up call with users to make sure the information they provided was accurate.
United Way invested $4,400 for the first year of 2-1-1 in Whiteside County.