Contributor: Lisa Smith, 2-1-1 Manager What’s the best-kept secret at United Way? We think it’s probably 2-1-1. Imagine, for a moment, you lose your job. What things in your life might be in jeopardy? Your housing? Transportation? Food? Would you know how to start searching for a new job? Or, imagine you find out a family member is dealing with depression. Or, what if a tornado damages your neighborhood? Would you know where to turn for help? We hope you and the people in your life never have to experience these hardships, but sometimes stuff happens. Log this in your memory now: Dial 2-1-1. (Or, if you prefer, search www.211now.org). Our Information and Referral Specialists at 2-1-1 can help connect you to health and human resources in our community. The best parts: the service is free, confidential, available to 92.6% of the population nationwide, and you can call 24/7. But that’s not all. United Way 2-1-1 collects de-identified data (to keep your call confidential) that reveals critical, real-time trends and emerging issues in our community. The 2017 Annual Snapshot Report, reveals significant shifts in the needs of Fox Cities’ residents calling 2-1-1 for assistance. For example, in 2017, calls for assistance with housing/shelter increased by 53% over 2016 and calls for help with mental health-related resources increased by 40%. You can find real-time data anytime at 211.counts.org, which can be very useful for community planning and grant writing. Isn’t 2-1-1 amazing? We’re certainly not trying to keep 2-1-1 a secret! We're working hard to spread the word to employers, police officers and emergency personnel, nonprofits, and the general public. Please use and share this incredible resource. We're here to help. Find more information about 2-1-1 on our website www.211now.org.