Letter: The perfect day to say 'thank you'

Every hour of every day, an Alaskan needs essential services, from finding food and shelter to securing adequate care for a child or an aging parent. Faced with multiple directories and an array of social service agencies, people often don’t know where to turn or how to get started. In many cases, they end up going without these necessary services.

Alaska 2-1-1 is a free, confidential, and multilingual health and human services information and referral system operated by United Way of Anchorage on behalf of all United Ways in Alaska.

Alaska 2-1-1 ensures that the health and human services system works for Alaskans by connecting people with the right services, instead of the frustrating and time-wasting hit-or-miss connections made by people calling multiple agencies on their own behalf trying to find the right office, program or person. Health and human services are only valuable when they reach the right people with the right level of efficacy and efficiency. Alaska 2-1-1 supports all health and social service providers’ plans to be adaptive, flexible and responsive to the needs of Alaskans.

As we celebrate 2-1-1 Day (today, Feb. 11), United Ways in Alaska and Alaska 2-1-1 want to express our sincere appreciation for this community’s continued commitment and support for 2-1-1 services that connect our neighbors with the help they need.

Last year, our 2-1-1 call center answered 25,760 calls from people seeking help, with many of our callers seeking help for the very first time. We made 38,100 referrals to community organizations in 2013, a 26 percent increase over 2012.

On 2-1-1 Day, we celebrate the many donors and volunteers who support the more than 3,000 resources and organizations to which we refer. We celebrate our many partners who continue to strengthen and support Alaska 2-1-1 as another way to build stronger communities and create opportunities for all.

Thank you and remember, Alaska 2-1-1 is for everyone.

Karen Crane

Board chair, United Way of Southeast Alaska

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