Call 2-1-1

Everyone knows to dial 911 for emergencies. But, what about 211?

By calling 2-1-1, Douglas County residents can be connected to services and programs on everything from legal services and counseling to job training, education programs, and child or adult day care.

211 works a bit like 911. Calls to 211 are routed by the telephone company to a local or regional calling center. In Douglas County, calls are routed through United Way of the Plains in Wichita that maintains listings of programs in Douglas County and 98 other Kansas counties. The 211 center's referral specialists receive requests from callers, match the callers' needs to available resources from nonprofit and government health and human service agencies, and refer them directly to an agency or organization that can help. United Way 211 of Kansas is free, confidential and answered 24/7. Translation services are also available.

"Our dedicated call specialists are trained to listen carefully to the problem and point the caller toward the help needed," said President & CEO Patrick J. Hanrahan, United Way of the Plains. "Whether it's a need unique to you or part of a regional disaster, our 211 service is ready every day of the year."

In addition to dialing 2-1-1, residents can locate hundreds of services using the MyResource connection

Douglas County has partnered with United Way of the Plains and Johnson County to provide MyResource Connection, a new website where residents can locate hundreds of services. The website is Douglas.MyResourceConnection.org.

With MyResource Connection, residents can search for services such as counseling, food pantries, legal services, support groups and utility assistance within the northeast Kansas area. They can also call 2-1-1 to talk with a specialist 24/7 or text their ZIP code to 898-211 to text live with a resource specialist.

"We are very pleased to work with Douglas County," said Patrick J. Hanrahan, President & CEO of United Way of the Plains. "Our goal with 2-1-1 is to get information quickly and efficiently to people in need and this partnership will enhance that goal."

For more information from 211 Kansas, visit their website.