Westchester County, NY (PRWEB) February 11, 2014
Today, United Way of Westchester and Putnam will celebrate National “2-1-1 Day” (2/11) by asking its supporters to tell, email, post, or tweet someone at exactly 2:11p.m to tell them that vital health and human services assistance is just a call or click away through 2-1-1 or http://www.hudson211.org. Additionally, area United Way chapters are announcing a new United Way’s PSA Challenge, “Voices for 2-1-1,” that pairs learning with doing good by inviting high school students to enter a contest to create a 2-1-1 public service written or video announcement (PSA) that will air on local media. Official contest partners include WHUD, the Office of the Westchester County Executive, and The Volunteer Center of United Way.
In Westchester and Putnam, at least one United Way “Voices for 2-1-1” winner per category (written PSA and video PSA) will be chosen by a panel of judges representing media, government, non-profit and communications:
Winners can choose to tour the WHUD studio or Westchester County multimedia department and will have their PSA publicized by the campaign’s media sponsor, WHUD, and other media outlets. Communications professionals from across the region will serve as judges and also as featured presenters at “careers in communications day” at participating high schools. Voices for 2-1-1 aims to increase awareness of United Way's 2-1-1, offer teens the opportunity to further develop their writing and communication skills, and introduce teens to careers in communications and media. Additional information, rules of entry, and applications are available at http://www.uwwp.org/voices.
Launched in 2005, United Way’s 2-1-1 is a free, confidential, multilingual helpline that provides millions of people each year with health and human services information, referrals, crisis support and disaster recovery information. The Hudson Valley Region 2-1-1 helpline was utilized during Hurricane Sandy to provide affected residents with a variety of disaster-related services, including financial assistance and help from the American Red Cross. More than 15,000 recovery calls to the helpline were made in the weeks following Hurricane Sandy, with an additional 750,000 visits to the 2-1-1 website.
The Hudson Valley Region 2-1-1 Call Center services more than 2.2 million people each year. Governments and taxpayers in Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Sullivan, Ulster and Westchester reap substantial benefits from 2-1-1’s presence that reduces the number of non-emergency calls made to 9-1-1. Now that tax season is here, trained call center specialists are also answering hundreds of tax inquiries each week and setting up appointments for people to get free tax preparation assistance throughout the region.
“We say that when you have a burning question, you should call 2-1-1. Of course when you have a burning building, call 9-1-1,” said Pat Anderson Hudson Valley’s 2-1-1 Outreach and Emergency Management Director. “Whether it be with tax assistance or a national emergency, 2-1-1 is available 10 hours a day, 365 days a year to get people the help they need as quickly as possible.”
United Way leaders from across the Hudson Valley Region also will be calling on Gov. Andrew Cuomo to add back critical state funding for the 2-1-1 helpline, which is not in the governor’s current budget proposal.
For more information about 2-1-1 visit http://www.hudson211.org/cms/ or you can call 2-1-1 from any type of telephone to speak with a professionally trained, paid call specialists from 9 a.m. – 7 p.m., 7 days a week.
About United Way 2-1-1
United Way’s 2-1-1 helpline has offered health and human services information, referrals, assessments and crisis support to everyone in the Hudson Valley since September 2005. Callers and searchers of http://www.hudson211.org find the assistance they need to address everyday challenges of living as well as those that develop during times of disaster and other community emergencies. 2-1-1 is a confidential, multilingual, comprehensive service that has enabled government and nonprofit agencies to realize concrete cost savings.
About United Way of Westchester and Putnam
United Way of Westchester and Putnam operates with the fundamental belief that all people deserve a quality education, enough income to support a family, and opportunities for a healthy lifestyle. The not-for-profit organization works with agency partners, government, businesses and community leaders to solve problems that are too complex for any one entity alone. All contributions go toward improving the education, income, and health of the children, youth and families throughout Putnam and Westchester. United Way’s 2-1-1, which covers Putnam as well as Westchester, Dutchess, Orange, Rockland, Sullivan and Ulster counties, answers hundreds of online inquiries and calls per day ranging from tax, heating, and mortgage questions to childcare, basic needs, natural disaster and crisis calls. United Way of Westchester and Putnam is located at 336 Central Park Ave., White Plains, NY 10606. They can be reached at 914-997-6700 or by visiting http://www.uwwp.org. Follow United Way on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/UnitedWayWP) and Twitter (@UnitedWayWP) for the latest news and updates.