988 and 211 — two phone numbers that could change your life

Picture of 211 & 988 operator

Every day, thousands of people across our community face complex challenges in their lives. And many of them have no idea where to turn for help.

Fortunately, 988 and 211 are there—providing expert, caring help in real time. Available 24/7, these vital services are phone numbers, text-messaging services, and websites that connect people with resources in our local area to address their needs.

The trained 988 and 211 specialists—the real people answering questions—don’t just “patch people through” to simple solutions; they listen, identify underlying problems, and connect people in need with resources and services in our community that improve their lives.

988 and 211 are for everyone—no matter your income, race, gender, or family status. Because all of us face challenges in our lives at some point, we’re lucky to have somewhere to turn when things take a turn for the worse.

988 is the designated three-digit dialing code that routes callers to certified counselors. In 2021 alone, those counselors fielded more than 2.5 million calls across the country to the lifeline. With suicide being the second-leading cause of death among young people, this service has never been more vital.

211, meanwhile, connects callers or texters to the most appropriate source of assistance for a variety of needs, including rent assistance, food banks, health resources, child care, elderly care, and so much more. In the last quarter of 2022, from October to December, trained 211 specialists took nearly 1,000 calls from residents in Winnebago County, connecting them with the help they desperately needed.

Without United Way funding, these life-saving helplines would not be available to our community’s residents. And thanks to donors like you, we are able to offer that support, and make the Rock River Valley a happier and healthier place to live, work, and play.