Dial 211 for information, helping hand

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 16, 2010

NATCHEZ — Add another three-digit emergency number to your mental Rolodex.

United Way Worldwide developed an emergency phone line that connects callers to trained operators in their state by simply dialing 2-1-1.

Mississippi and Louisiana both participate in the program.

United Way of the Greater Miss-Lou Executive Director Tiffany Mascagni said the program is a way for individuals with a need to find the resources within their local area.

“United Way does not directly provide assistance,” she said. “What we can do is connect people with the partnering agency that does fill their need.”

In Mississippi, calls are routed through a United Way operator in Jackson, and in Louisiana calls are routed through Monroe.

The call is free and confidential. The phone line is operational 24 hours a day year round.

“Anytime a need arises, there is someone there that can help,” Mascagni said.

The operators are trained and have access to the United Way supported partnering agencies in the caller’s home area.

Mississippi and Louisiana both offer statewide coverage through the 2-1-1 phone line.

“Even if you just know someone with a need, you can call this phone line and get information on how to help that person,” Mascagni.

Dialing 2-1-1 connects callers to multilingual operators and provides assistance for some of the most vulnerable sects of the population such as the elderly, children, disabled and people who may be new to the community or traveling through.