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211 in 2022: The stories behind 100,000+ calls for help

211 team member

“I can’t afford my blood pressure prescription because my rent was due.”

“I have no transportation to get to the food pantry and I’m out of food.”

“I need a shelter but I have a night job and all the shelters have curfews.”

“I can’t believe this is happening. I’ve never needed to ask for help before.”

“Hello, this is Veronica with 211, how can I help you?”

This is how life-changing moments often start: with the warm, friendly voice of one of our 211 Helpline call specialists who are experts in connecting people to the help they need—and to assistance they might not have considered.

The 211 Maryland United Way Helpline is a 24/7/365 service to help that provides callers with free, confidential access to thousands of resources and support like help with food, rent, childcare, employment and legal assistance, and more.

Every day, around the clock, our 211 team answers the call for help from people like…

…Gayle, who was escaping an abusive marriage. Our 211 call specialist arranged for a paid bus ticket and stayed on the line with her until she was safely on her way to a safe house.

…Mariana, who needed help with back-due bills, but also, as Daphne in 211 discovered during the call, assistance with a family member who needed mental health support and shelter.

…Chantelle, who receives disability payments, wanted a job so she could be more financially independent but couldn’t afford transportation to interviews. Karen in 211 provided her with a free round-trip Lyft ride to an interview, and Chantelle later reported that she got a job.

…Liam, who called for assistance with his utility bills and was also connected to holiday food and gifts for his children.

…Lotte, 95 and on a fixed income, who wanted a cell phone for emergencies and so she could text her grandchildren. During a caller satisfaction follow-up call, Robin in 211 was on the line while Lotte took a call on her new phone about a replacement Social Security card that was clearly an identity theft scam. Robin, who could hear the other call, advised Lotte to hang up, and Lotte agreed to wait until her grandson’s visit so he could help her apply for a new card on a secure government site.

These are just a few examples of how the 211 Helpline is a lifeline for so many. Want to learn more?

“She’s wearing boots her teacher had to hot glue the sole back on.” Listen to a mother’s call for help.

“My sons are hungry. They haven’t had but one decent meal in three days.” A father calls 211 seeking food and shelter for his family in the middle of winter.

“I’m sorry…I'm just so emotional.” Mental health support help is just one of the many ways 211 helps callers.

It's not easy being a call specialist. Listen to this United Way Barrier Breakers podcast to learn how our team copes and what fuels their ability to help others every day.

2022 CALLS

100,000+ calls expected to be answered in 2022

Top needs as of November 2022:

Needs Category Number of Calls
Housing Assistance 34,369
Utility Assistance 12,593
Food Assistance 9,780


211 does more than answer the call for help: It also serves as a barometer of need in our community, allowing us to identify and quickly respond to trends and service and resource gaps.

You can support this vital, life-changing resource with your gift today.