Montana News

Feb 4, 2013 11:54 AM by Claire Anderson - MTN News

Montana 211 service offers resources, assistance

GREAT FALLS - The Montana 211 program has been helping people in need for the last decade, but now, the people behind the program are expanding their reach and trying to inform more Montanans about their mission.

The central Montana area has more than 300 non-profits and free services, but for people who might need help, the hardest part can be finding it.

The 211 program is a free telephone and website service that offers to help people with any sort of basic human needs assistance from food to finances.

"I think Great Falls has a lot of opportunity and people are willing to help, people just sometimes just don't know or aren't aware that there's help out there if they need it," Montana 211 Program Director Jackie Fitzgerald said.

"Often times people who are in a crisis or who are struggling aren't sure where to turn and 211 keeps a database of all of the programs in our community and refer people quickly and easily to the type of service they may need," added Gary Owen, president of United Way of Cascade County.

With so many services, finding the right one that can help can be difficult and frustrating for people having to make numerous calls without finding the needed help.

"We know that people get tired of making call after call after call, and about after the third or fourth call they're like, 'Forget it, I'm not calling anymore.' So we're trying to get to where we have all those resources here," Fitzgerald said.

"Just to let people know that there's help out there if they need it and they don't have to be embarrassed or their pride doesn't have to get in the way, that it's there for them and that's what it's there for," she added.

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