United Way promotes use of 211 program


By Haylee Pence

[email protected]

MIAMI COUNTY – The United Way of Miami County helps fund a variety of programs, which includes the 211 program.

The United Way of Miami County is a part of the “world’s largest non-profit,” according to CEO of the United Way of Miami County, Sean Ford. United Way is dedicated to helping communities through education, financial stability, and health.

The United Way website states, “Education is the cornerstone of individual and community success. It is essential to getting and keeping a job with a livable wage and health benefits, and it is fundamental to a community’s economic prosperity: a well-educated workforce attracts world-class jobs.” United Way runs programs to target early childhood and high school students.

The website also states, “While continuing to address critical needs such as emergency food, housing, utilities, and transportation for individuals and families in crisis, United Way of Miami County is partnering with the local community to develop resources and opportunities that help individuals and families move up the ladder of financial security.”

The last pillar of support for the community is health, which the website states, “A healthy community is one that supports individual health, safety and development; one where individuals can live free of violence and abuse; one where opportunities for physical activity and a nutritious diet are accessible to all; one where people of all ages have health care services for preventative, mental health, and dental care to support overall well-being.”

Ford commented that United Way provides “a hand-up, not a hand-out” by helping people through conversations with a licensed, crisis-trained social worker that will help individuals get to the “root of the problem” and provide guidance on how to fix it.

The 211 Program is funded by the United Way of Miami County through the financial contributions made by the Miami County Commissioners. The 211 program is run by a contracted call center that is available 24/7 for Miami County residents. Any resident who needs assistance can call 2-1-1 to get a “short-cut to find the best resources,” according to Ford.

Ford stated, “We know that problems don’t exist just between the hours of 8 a.m. (and) 5 p.m.”

The 211 program was started after the merging of the individual city United Ways throughout Miami County, and was fast-tracked due to the COVID-19 pandemic. According to Ford, over 2,000 calls have been received since the creation of the program in July 2020, and they have been receiving about 200 calls per month this year. The majority of these calls are from the bigger cities, Piqua, Troy, and Tipp City.

United Way hosts a fall campaign to raise money, about $1.35 million, to give back through various nonprofit organizations to help the community. Some of these nonprofits that United Way donates to include Big Brothers Big Sisters Miami Valley, Child Care Choices, Family Abuse Shelter of Miami County, Miami County Dental Clinic, The Salvation Army, and many other nonprofits throughout the county.

Ford finished by saying, “This is a great service for anyone in Miami County who needs help with food, shelter, rent and utility services, or anything else. We’re also here for students who need someone to talk to. Don’t hesitate to reach out through 211.”

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