Marathon Petroleum Corporation (MPC) has granted United Way of Northeast Kentucky’s (UWNEK) 211 program $65,000 for 2022, fueling the maintenance of 211 for a second year. 211 is a toll-free number that connects individuals to non-emergency help they need 24 hours a day, 7 days a week in the UWNEK service region of Boyd, Carter, Elliott, Greenup and Lawrence (KY) counties. Callers speak to a live operator who can assist them in finding local services for needs from utility bills to food.
The MPC grant helps UWNEK maintain and expand this program for the region by providing a simple, easy to remember number that can be called from any phone to get help – 211.
“We were so fortunate to get this grant from MPC last year for our 211 program,” Jerri Compton, UWNEK CEO, said, “and to have this for a second year during such a difficult financial time in our communities is just incredible.” The grant helps the program with operational and communication costs which are crucial to maintaining the program in the region. Prior to UWNEK’s commitment to bringing 211 to the region in 2018, only 20% of Kentucky had 211 coverage. Through the Kentucky United Way network, financial partnerships like MPC and commitments from state government, Kentucky now has 100% coverage. “I was a part of the early days of those conversations about this service and the people of our region had no idea where to call to get the services they needed,” MPC Stakeholder Engagement Representative, Sheila Fraley, said. “Marathon Petroleum is committed to improving our communities and 211 is that connection between the improvement available to individuals and how to find it.”
Maintaining the 211 program means maintaining an ever changing database of information on programs and services including locations, contacts, hours, requirements and much more so the database of information, accessed by call center specialists is as accurate as possible for the caller.
“We want to be able to provide as much information to the 211 caller as possible to put them on the path of help they need,” Compton said. “This information can change frequently as charitable and non-profit services are constantly changing based on staffing and funding,” she added.
Throughout the pandemic, keeping up with frequent changes was a particular challenge, as some organizations have had to cease services while others have expanded certain services with state or federal funding. Compton said that UWNEK donors and company supporters, like MPC, helped save many programs from closing or reducing throughout the pandemic. “While we certainly saw a reduction in our overall donations, we still saw the generosity of individuals and corporations who were also experiencing difficulty of their own,” Compton said. “However, MPC has remained a steadfast UWNEK supporter and helped us continue to offer and expand services to the community,” she added.
For more information about the United Way of Northeast Kentucky and the 211 program visit uwnek.org or call 606.325.1810.