Every day thousands of people find the help they need quickly, conveniently and free of charge because of Information and Referral (I&R) services. To recognize the importance of I&R in our community, United Way of Central Iowa's 2-1-1 service is taking part in I&R Day on November 16.

Information and Referral is the art, science and practice of bringing people and services together and is an integral component of the health and human services sector.

People in search of critical services such as financial assistance, food, shelter, child care, jobs, or mental health support often do not know where to begin to get help, or they get overwhelmed trying to find what they need. With I&R the information is available at their fingertips with one simple phone call, text message, or website.

United Way of Central Iowa's 2-1-1 service provides a phone number and referral service that central Iowans can call for help accessing assistance programs, including:

  • Counseling
  • Criminal justice and legal services
  • Crisis intervention
  • Disability services
  • Elderly services
  • Family support
  • Food
  • Education
  • Employment
  • Health care
  • Housing
  • Juvenile services
  • Mental health care
  • Protective services
  • Public health and safety
  • Substance abuse
  • Transportation

 "2-1-1 is the front door to hundreds  of social services available to individuals and families—which they may not know how to reach themselves," says Elisabeth Buck, Chief Community Impact Officer of United Way of Central Iowa. "The 2-1-1 network is unique in its quality of resource knowledge, depth of community integration, expertise of people, and scope of presence." 

In late 2011, at the request of the Alliance of Information and Referral Services (AIRS), the U.S. Senate passed S.RES.241 designating November 16, 2011 as “National Information and Referral Services Day”. AIRS is an international nonprofit professional association with a membership of more than 1,200 public and private I&R organizations including 2-1-1 at United Way of Central Iowa. Together, we have decided to continue celebrating I&R Day each November 16 to raise public awareness and recognize the critical importance of the I&R field.

"United Way of Central Iowa is proud to offer 2-1-1 as a central access point for all citizens to help connect them to health and human service resources, 24/7," says Buck.


For more information contact:

Melissa McCoy, 2-1-1 Director
United Way of Central Iowa


About The Author: Rachel Vogel-Quinn

Rachel Vogel Quinn is the former Marketing Communications Manager at United Way of Central Iowa.