Friday is 2-1-1 Day across North America, not coincidentally because of the date.
It’s the 14th annual observance of the day across Northern Ontario. 2-1-1 North executive director Marie Klassen says it’s a non-emergency 9-1-1.
“It’s free. It’s confidential. And it connects people to critical social and community supports when they are in need,” she explains.
Also available via text and online, it can connect a user to non-commercial programs and services, ranging from housing to utility assistance, health care and COVID-19 resources.
2-1-1 North manager Kristen Tomcko says the pandemic has increased the volume of calls for help with things like income support, vaccination availability and eligibility, and mental health counselling and intervention.
“We’ve had at the same time a lot of calls and requests or needs for food programming,” Tomcko states.” So we’ve had a lot of requests for the food programs, food banks…”
There are also traditional services such as renewing your driver’s licence or passport.
“If you don’t know where to turn, turn to 2-1-1,” says Klassen.