SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) – The 211 Helpline center has seen a record numbers of calls since the beginning of the pandemic.
“We are now probably averaging around 600 to 700. Before the pandemic we were closer to 300 to 400 a day,” Vice President of Program Development Betsy Schuster said.
Schuster says they’re seeing this on their website too
“I think were close to 700,000 hits on our website this year which is not even – it’s out of the ball park of what we ever imagined,” Schuster said
Now, they’re looking to put those resources in your pocket with their 211 Helpline Center App.
“Not everybody wants to call: some people want to text, some people want to search on their computer some people want to search on their phone,” Schuster said.
When you start it up, the first thing the app does, similar to when you call, is ask your location.
“It’s not helpful if you’re calling from Aberdeen and there’s a food pantry that pops up in Yankton,” Schuster said.
Then you’ll see a list of options like food, mental health, substance abuse or basic needs and many, many more.
“I think it just gives people the opportunity to just randomly scroll through the resources on the app, and there’s going to be resources they didn’t even realize existed in our community or the community they’re living in,” Kittams said.
When you click on a resource you’ll then see a list of ways to contact them. You can also favorite them for future uses. CEO of the Helpline Center Janet Kittams says she hopes this will help broaden their reach.
“I think we’ll probably reach more of a professional market: maybe the social workers, or folks that are trying to help families, our social services agencies will be able to use the app to help them, Kittams said.
“We have our phones with us at all times, it seems like, and that is what our world is and we just want to be able to be there for people all the time,” Schuster said.
Making it a touch easier for people to find the help they need. The 211 Helpline App is free to download now off the Apple App Store and Google Play. If you’d like to call the Helpline Center, just dial 2-1-1.