United Way Initiative Provides 24/7 Resource For Mainers
PRESQUE ISLE, Maine (WAGM) -
Every year the United Way helps fund countless programs and organizations aimed at improving the lives of area residents. But one initiative supported by the United Way itself aims to provide Mainers with information and resources… day or night. NewsSource8′s Brian Bouchard has the story.
“We get calls, thousands of calls a month from across the state of Maine. In Aroostook County last year alone we received almost 3000 calls, texts, internet searches from people looking for help”
Nikki Williams is the Program Director of an initiative by the United Ways of Maine designed to connect Mainers with valuable information and resources called 211 Maine. The program was established 17 years ago in 2006 and helps connect folks with information and state programs regarding things like Heating Assistance, addiction, transportation.
“211 Maine is a free and confidential program that basically helps people find local resources that help them stay healthy, safe and independent. We work in partnership with the State of Maine and the Opportunity Alliance and the United Way of Aroostook county has played a critical role in the growth and development of 211 Maine over the years.” says Williams.
Senate Minority Leader Trey Stewart says he first became aware of 211 Maine after having served on the State Opioid Task Force and says the program acts as an information clearing house and is seen as a valuable resource to help fight the state’s problem with opioid addiction.
“Everybody across the state of Maine from Kittery to Fort Kent can utilize it by simply dialing 211. If you know somebody for instance who is struggling with some type of opioid addiction and you don’t know where to go or what local resources you might have, you can call that number and be connected with someone who will help be the source of those other programs and resources that we have across the state.” says Stewart.
Sarah Duncan, Executive Director of the United Way of Aroostook says ensuring county residents have a 24/7 resource is paramount in their mission to improve lives and advance the common good.
“Organizations aren’t open on the weekend, or they close at 5 O’clock and crisis can happen at any time. We put thousands of dollars into making sure that there is a 24/7 help line available to any Aroostook county resident. Somebody might not have heat on the weekend, and they can’t get help until Monday morning, if they can get through. But they can call 211 Maine and get connected to a resource and there is heating money with them as well.”
In addition to Dialing 211, you can also text, email or visit their website at 211maine.org. More information as well as links will be made available on our website at WAGMTV.com. You can support 211 Maine by donating during our United Way Telethon on Thursday, September 14th.
Brian Bouchard, NewsSource8
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