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Calls for Help to United Way 2-1-1 in Rhode Island in 2012 Reach All-Time High

Published 01/31/13

Over 208,800 Calls Handled; More than any Previous Year since Inception of Helpline

Providence, R.I. (January 31, 2013) - Despite signs of improvement for Rhode Island’s troubled economy and high rate of unemployment, a record number of people across the Ocean State sought help from United Way 2-1-1 in Rhode Island during 2012 to meet a wide range of needs.

In total, the statewide 24-hour information and referral helpline that guides individuals and families in accessing essential services at community-based organizations and government agencies handled 208,806 calls for help – more than any year since its establishment in 2007.

“While the peak of the recession has passed, far too many of our neighbors continue to struggle with meeting their basic needs,” said Anthony Maione, president & CEO of United Way of Rhode Island. “2-1-1 is truly a resource for everyone; our family members, friends, colleagues, and neighbors, as well as those dealing with crisis situations – no one should ever hesitate to ask for help.”

As a free, confidential service, 2-1-1 helps Rhode Islanders in need by connecting them with a wide-variety of services that includes financial assistance for heat, electricity and other housing costs, care options for an aging family member, child care assistance, help finding food, and other community-based services.

In addition to receiving a record number of calls, 2-1-1 also helped nearly 2,000 people who walked in to United Way of Rhode Island’s Olneyville headquarters – 80 percent more than the previous year. Further underscoring the importance of having one singular place for help, Rhode Islanders also initiated 112,728 searches for assistance through the 2-1-1 website.

Overall, since this invaluable resource was launched in June 2007, the total number of requests for help to 2-1-1 has exceeded one million.

2-1-1 also provides critical assistance to seniors, adults with disabilities and their caregivers through THE POINT, a partnership between the Rhode Island Division of Elderly Affairs and United Way of Rhode Island. In 2012, THE POINT took over 36,000 calls.

“Every day, Rhode Islanders from all walks of life contact 2-1-1 for help; it’s the fastest and easiest way for people to get connected with the resources they need,” continued Maione.

If you or anyone you know is in need of help, or if you’d like to help others by becoming a call center volunteer, please call 2-1-1. More information on United Way 2-1-1 in Rhode Island can also be found on its website: www.211ri.org.

About United Way of Rhode Island

United Way of Rhode Island has been working to improve the quality of life in Rhode Island communities for over 80 years. UWRI’s mission is to mobilize the caring power of the community to improve the lives of people in need and address the issues Rhode Islanders care most about. For more information, visit www.LIVEUNITEDri.org.