211: Three digits you should know








These are some of the 111,272, calls, texts and emails answered through the Helpline Center in 2020 .


According to the 2-1-1 Helpline Center Data Dashboard, 211 callers identified 186,226 needs between 3/1/2020 and 1/31/2021. Some individuals may have expressed more than one need during a contact.


In 2019, the recorded call volume was 46,561, which nearly tripled to 108,614 calls in 2020 due to the pandemic.





Helpline Center, a United Way of the Black Hills funded agency, offers support and resources to the community through the following core service areas: the 2-1-1 Helpline, Volunteer Connections, and suicide and crisis support. The calls are free, and representatives are available 24/7.


According to the 2-1-1 Helpline Center's Data Dashboard, the top needs identified were:


Health care (23.8%)


Food and meals (13.6%)


Housing (13.5%)


Mental Health (10.4%)



What makes the 2-1-1 Helpline unique to our community is they are the lifeline that connects people in need to services that many of our funded agencies provide. "We serve as a central point of information for people with all types of needs – single parents needing baby food or diapers, widowers seeking grief support groups, teens worried about a suicidal friend, new residents who need to get a local driver’s license,” says Audrey Nordine, Black Hills Program Coordinator.


In 2020, the 2-1-1 Helpline Center announced that they are now available statewide. This means anyone in South Dakota can dial this number to receive assistance.





United Way of the Black Hills encourages folks interested in volunteering to DIAL 2-1-1 or subscribe to their volunteer newsletter. With 180 non-profits participating in the Volunteer Connections program, chances are, many of them are our funded agencies.


Find your next volunteer opportunity through the Helpline Center’s Volunteer Connections.


(1) Search for opportunities you are passionate about: 2-1-1 is a great way to hone in on the variety of volunteer opportunities, and narrowing in your search to meet your passion. Maybe you are interested in mentoring children, or want to help with stuffing food backpacks. If you can think it, chances are, there is an volunteer opportunity for it!


(2) Search for opportunities by organization name: Maybe you want to volunteer for Salvation Army, American Red Cross, Big Brothers Big Sisters, YFS, etc. Simply type in the name of the organization in the keyword search and be sure to include your location.


(3) Search by date: Maybe you are looking for an opportunity to get involved over a three-day weekend? (Presidents Day is on February 15th, which for some employees means a day off!) Spend this day off by giving back to your community!


(4) Search by distance: You have determined what you are passionate about, and can think of a day of the week you are available to volunteer. Next step is to determine how near or far you would like to travel to volunteer. Some volunteer opportunities may be less than 5 miles from your work or home location!




South Dakota ranks 6th in the country for rates of suicide. The staff at 2-1-1 Helpline Center are trained to answer the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273- 8255). In 2019, 2-1-1 Helpline Center answered 2,334 suicide related calls - an increase of 27% from the year prior.


In addition to being trained to answer the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, The Helpline Center introduced the Text4Hope program, which provides text support to high school students struggling with suicidal thoughts, depression, and family problems.


In 2020, they also launched a new platform, 605strong.com, to provide emotional support and resources specific to the COVID-19 pandemic. 





(1) Write the number down on a sticky note and leave it on your fridge. You never know when you or a friend or neighbor may need help.

(2) Share a social media post about the many ways 2-1-1 helps throughout the state.

(3) Visit the volunteer connections site and register to volunteer in your community!




UWBH funding is crucial in maintaining the Helpline Center's database of over 4,400 resources serving South Dakota residents. When you donate to UWBH, you are helping residents continue to receive access to crucial and necessary resources described above. We encourage you to learn more about the Helpline Center by visiting their website. We also encourage you to write down their simple three digit phone number on a post-it, and stick it on your fridge. You never know when you, a friend, a family member or co-worker may need their assistance.