There is a new way in Salina to reach out for help.
According to the Salina Area United Way, “who you gonna call?” is now also “who you gonna text?” when you want to find, emergency shelter, food assistance, rent assistance, elder care, youth programming, and much more. The organization has launched a new texting option for its 2-1-1 information line for people looking for help in Kansas.
United Way 2-1-1 of Kansas handles 50,000 calls annually and 28,000 online searches. Now it looks to add thousands of texting inquiries to those numbers.
“Texting has become a primary means of communication,” said Brenda Gutierrez, Program Director Salina Area United Way. “Because Kansas has 100% coverage by 2-1-1 we can now help more people find the services they’re looking for through this new texting option.”
To use the new 2-1-1 texting option, individuals simply text their zip code to 898211. A 2-1-1 specialist will answer the text, determining their specific needs and identifying what local nonprofit or government agency will best meet their needs. The text will include the agency name, phone number, and other useful information needed (including hours of operation, sliding fee scales, etc.).
Since 2006, United Way has provided the 2-1-1 information line across the state of Kansas through a 24-hour free phone service (by simply dialing 2-1-1) and its website (at 211kansas.org).
2-1-1 is a national dialing code for free, confidential 24-hour access to thousands of health and human services, such as housing, shelter, food, legal aid, clothing, counseling, utility assistance, health care, transportation and more. During disasters, 2-1-1 also provides important public information that frees up 9-1-1 to handle life-or-death emergencies.