United Way supports enhancements to 211 Ontario to help communities facing crisis

Community raised over $30,000 in response to 2017 floods to help citizens in community crises and disasters


May 9, 2018, Rockland —United Way Prescott-Russell is pleased to announce that it will invest $30,000 in a new project thanks to funds raised at a community concert and through other generous group and individual donations. The donations were in response to the 2017 floods in the Prescott-Russell region and will be used to enhance volunteer coordination and community information to help with future community crises.


Following the 2017 flooding in Prescott-Russell, the United Way and Red Cross formed a Flood Recovery Committee, which included mayors of the affected municipalities, staff from the United Counties of Prescott-Russell, and key social service organizations such as Hawkesbury General Hospital, Valoris, and Canadian Mental Health Association. The committee met regularly to review the ongoing and outstanding needs of those affected by flooding and identified a need for a Volunteer Coordination Strategy and for the promotion of the 211 service as a means to access disaster services during a crisis. This project will support flood-affected residents by easing access to existing services while building community capacity in case of future disasters.  


2-1-1 is a three-digit telephone number that people can call when they are looking for local services. Its database of over 60 000 resources contains valuable, up-to-date information regarding the programs and services available in our community and throughout Ontario. Information and referral specialists are available 24 hours a day, 365 days per year, to offer free and confidential information on community, health, social, and related government service. Also, the service is available in over 150 languages through an interpreter service. United Way’s investments in 211 will help enhance these services when they need to be deployed in times of crisis.

Julie Demers is the 211 staff member dedicated to this project. She is also a Clarence-Rockland resident and is passionate about the service. “I want people to know that if they are looking for information, they only have to dial 2-1-1. During a disaster, like a flood, 211 staff can inform callers where to get sandbags or where to volunteer,” says Julie. “Whatever the problem, big or small, in a situation of emergency or not, don’t struggle to find what you need – start by calling 2-1-1!”


Eric Michael Hawks approached United Way to manage the proceeds after the success of the 2017 concert he helped organize. His volunteer team was moved by the needs in the community and wanted to do their part to ensure that there was enough support to help people recover. “We wanted to work with United Way because they’ll invest in our community where it is needed most and where it will have the greatest impact,” said Mr. Hawks. “I’m tremendously grateful to all the people that made this project possible, the committee, the generous local businesses and artists, the volunteers and attendees. This project will make our community better for everyone.”


In the aftermath of floods last spring, United Way Prescott-Russell and the Canadian Red Cross have also committed to working more closely together to support the community in the time of need.   


For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact us.