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National 211 Day to raise awareness of free social services

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – February 11 is National 211 Day.

The event is a campaign by the United Way to raise awareness about the 211 helpline that connects callers with social services.

The helpline is available in areas across the country, including North Alabama – where it’s provided by Crisis Services of North Alabama in partnership with United Way.

The call center also serves residents in other parts of the state. Operators have access to a database that allows them to find the nearest food pantry for someone in Montgomery or a shelter for a caller in Mobile, for example.

These out-of-area calls are routed to the crisis center after hours, on weekends and during holidays.

Last year, the agency answered more than 37,000 calls from all over the state.

However, the bulk of the calls – an estimated 20,000 – came from North Alabama.

Program Manager Jessica Rasche says most of the calls are requests for help with housing, utilities or food.

Call takers match the need with the appropriate community resource.

These resources can also be found online at www.211connectsalabama.org

All 211 help is free. The helpline is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.