211 needs to become just as embedded as 911 in our lives

The 911 number has become the instinctive connector between people and emergency responders in our county, state and nation.

And that’s great. Countless tragedies have been averted or at least partially reduced by that simple connection, understandable to everyone.

The 211 hotline offered by the United Way needs to become just as much a part of the consciousness of people.

It is a 24/7 human services hotline manned by a person trained to connect people with a broad array of needs. The voice that answers can help with health providers, child abuse, drug and alcohol recovery, energy assistance, homeless services, utilities and more.

The people answering the phones can help those in need of care givers, transportation, independent living, community shelters and legal services.

Suppose you are living far away from a family member who needs a daily reminder to take a particular medication? This service offers that.

The 211 service has been present in Lycoming County through the United Way for five years, but we sense it has not yet become embedded in the daily consciousness of everyday life.

The phone number needs to become just as firmly entrenched in our way of life as 911 to broaden the umbrella of help available to those in need.

Consider 211 one more good reason to give to the ongoing Lycoming County United Way fundraising campaign.