United Way's 211 program helps those in need - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

United Way's 211 program helps those in need

WOOD COUNTY (WAOW)--United Way wants to raise awareness about a program to help people in need. United Way representatives say all you have to do is dial 211 from any phone, and you will be put in touch with a variety of organizations in your area.

According to United Way's web site, North Central Wisconsin's 211 center received almost 7,000 calls in 2011. It says most people were looking for financial assistance and information about food pantries.

"Anytime that you can have resources out there that's just another length to all services that are available in the community, it's important," said Renee Shulz-Stangl, Executive Director of the Personal Development Center.

The purpose of the PDC is to provide help for victims of domestic abuse.

"There's a lot of emotion, things are very stressful, there are a lot of things to sort through. We need to find the easiest path for people to be able to reach us," Shulz-Stangl said.

United Way leaders say the nationwide service is free and confidential, and it's needed now more than ever.

"It's very important to have for the community, especially right now in the economic times that we are dealing with," said United Way's 211 coordinator Amy Fluno. "It's a very central number to call," she said.

And it's as easy as dialing 211.

"There's a lot of people in our area that don't know that you can call us and get a lot of the information that you need in one call," Fluno said.

"Our reach only goes so far and the United Way reach with 211, that goes a lot further than what we would be able to do on our own," Shulz-Stangl said.

With the help of United Way, many people struggling can find the help they need.

"It takes a village. I really think no matter what we do, it takes a community all coming together to make this a great place to live," said Shulz-Stangl.

The 211 program is available 24/7. It is completely confidential and costs nothing to the caller.

Online Reporter: Cassandra Vinch

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