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United Way for Spoon River Country
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United Way for Spoon River County is proud to announce that a new countywide 2-1-1 phone system will be available to residents of Fulton County for non-emergency information and referral this summer.  The 2-1-1 phone system is an easy-to-remember telephone number that connects people with important community services and volunteer opportunities.  The 2-1-1 phone system will be available to residents of Fulton County 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and provides callers with information about and referral to human services for every day needs, and also in times of crisis.             The first step in making 2-1-1 a reality for Fulton County will be an informational community meeting on Wednesday, May 23, 2018 at 2:00 p.m. The meeting will be held at the Fulton County Health Department located at 700 Oak Street in Canton, Illinois.  All health and human service agencies are encouraged to attend this meeting and provide information regarding the services they provide in Fulton County. Additional meetings will be held throughout the County to answer questions about 2-1-1 and to collect information on services provided.  The information will then be input into a data base with PATH, Inc. of Bloomington, Illinois, who is a dedicated 2-1-1 service provider. All calls answered by PATH, Inc. for 2-1-1 Fulton County will be answered by trained call specialists. These specialists will help the caller find the information they need, and ask questions to see if other resources are available to the caller.                         


The 2-1-1 program offers easy access to community based organizations and government agencies which provide services which include: basic human needs resources; physical and mental health resources; employment supports; support for older Americans and persons with disabilities; support for children, youth and families; 24/7 live operator response; suicide prevention; evacuation routes; and access for more than 150 languages.             Another important aspect of the 2-1-1 program is the ability to provide an outlet for the non-emergency calls that can account for up to 45 percent of 911 calls.  In addition, in times of crisis, 2-1-1 will be able to provide information about emergency shelters and evacuation routes during natural and man-made disasters.  Ann Lockhart, Executive Director of the United Way for Spoon River Country states, “Hopefully we never suffer another crisis like the explosion in 2016.  However, if we do, the 2-1-1 infoline will be a huge asset for individuals trying to find out answers to non-emergency questions. We will be able to communicate critical and pertinent information to PATH, Inc. to assist callers in their time of crisis.”            


Lockhart also stated that the United Way for Spoon River Country will receive quarterly informational reports regarding the number of calls received by PATH, Inc. from Fulton County, what individuals were trying to find, if they were able to find assistance, and most importantly, if there was no assistance available.  “The reason we are interested in whether individuals were able to find assistance is that if they were not able to find a service, we would hope to be able to fill that gap and work towards establishing a program for that specific request,” Lockhart stated.  “We are so excited to be able to launch 2-1-1 this summer for Fulton County,” Lockhart said.  “We are thankful for our partners in this endeavor to make 2-1-1 Fulton County a reality. Thank you to the Health and Wellness Connection of Fulton County, Fulton County ESDA, Chris and Stacey Helle, and CAMA (Canton Area Ministerial Association), for your financial support! And thank you to Amanda Atchley with the Canton Area Chamber of Commerce for her help in making our businesses aware of this program.”             

For more information on the community meeting on May 23, 2018, or for more information regarding the 2-1-1 program, please contact Ann Lockhart at the United Way for Spoon River Country by email at untdway@sbcglobal.net, the United Way for Spoon River Country’s Facebook page or website at www.unitedwayforspoonrivercountry.org, or by phone at (309) 647-1825.   The United Way for Spoon River County is a non-profit organization whose mission is to improve the lives of those living in our region by organizing and providing human and financial resources that might not otherwise be available.                                                    

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