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United Way of Westchester and Putnam call center now accepts texts for assistance

United Way
From left: UWWP Board Chair June Blanc; 2-1-1 Board Chair Chris Ashman; Alana Sweeny; Senior Vice President 2-1-1 Lini Jacob; and Andrea Brown, representing state Sen. Andrea-Stewart Cousins.

Senior citizens do it, millennials do it, children do it and now people seeking help from United Way of Westchester and Putnam (UWWP) can do it: send a text message. Alana Sweeny, president and CEO of UWWP, announced that users of its 2-1-1 Referral Line can now send a text message seeking help. Sweeny said that UWWP’s 2-1-1 Call Center acts as a lifeline for more than 8,000 callers a month.

“We want people to be able to reach us in different ways. More and more people are using their fingers instead of their voices to talk,” she said. Sweeny added that text messaging would be available from 2 to 6 p.m. initially and expanded once more funding is available. Users can text to 898211 to reach a call specialist.

United Way’s 2-1-1 Call Center provides referrals 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to food assistance, housing and shelters, utilities, abuse prevention, suicide, foster parenting, medical help and more.

Representatives of New York state Sens. Andrea-Stewart Cousins, Peter Harckham and Alessandra Biaggi were among those on hand for Sweeny’s announcement.

Launched in 2006, the call center is located in UWWP’s Central Avenue office in White Plains. It receives calls from four regions: Long Island, Hudson Valley, Adirondack and Northeast. Specialists use a large database to find resources by zip code. They have access to a service that can translate 200 languages into English and back again.

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