Every day thousands of people find the help they need quickly, conveniently and free of charge because of Information and Referral (I&R) services. To recognize the importance of I&R in our community, United Way Chatham-Kent is taking part in I&R Day on November 16.
Information and Referral is the art, science and practice of bringing people and services together and is an integral component of the health and human services sector.
People in search of critical services such as financial assistance, food, shelter, child care, jobs, or mental health support often do not know where to begin to get help, or they get overwhelmed trying to find what they need. Community information and referral providers connect people with resources that can help them with one simple phone call, text message, or website inquiry.
United Way Chatham-Kent provides Information and Referral Services through their three local offices in Chatham, Tilbury and Wallaceburg. In addition, our Certified Information and Referral Specialist, Patricia Weiler, manages and updates the local social and human service database, which then feeds into a province-wide database for Ontario 211 services.
In late 2011, at the request of the Alliance of Information and Referral Services (AIRS), the United States Senate passed S.RES.241 designating November 16, 2011 as “National Information and Referral Services Day”. AIRS is an international non-profit professional association with more than 5,000 individual, public and private I&R organizational members including United Way Chatham-Kent. Together, we have decided to continue celebrating I&R Day each November 16 and to extend it worldwide to raise public awareness and recognize the critical importance of the I&R field.
“Information and Referral Services are an important component of a social safety net. When people don’t know who to call or where to turn, particularly in a crisis situation, they can call United Way or “211” and know that they will get a live person on the other end of the line who has the training and expertise to find the help they need.” said Karen Kirkwood-Whyte, CEO of United Way Chatham-Kent.