211 is a free service both online and on the telephone. There are Information and Referral Centers, often called Hot lines, or First Call for Help. They are open 24 hours a day 7 days a week. The primary purpose of the centers is to link people with the resources they need in their communities. 211 can connect you with someone who speaks your language. Press 2, then 1, then 1, on any telephone. If you do not speak English, say the name of your language. For example: “I do not speak English, Bosnian please”. wait and DO NOT HANG UP. You will hear English spoken and clicking sounds are you are connected on a conference call with an interpreter in your language. It may take 5 to 10 minutes. Have your questions ready and a paper and pen to write things down.
You can search for 211 services in Iowa here: www.211iowa.org. Type in the area of service you would like: food, housing; transportation, employment; clothing; legal; etc. For example, if you search for Food you will see options multiple options: Food pantries; food vouchers; low cost meals; formula/baby food; food stamps and many more. Either search for more of these specific services or click on a link to learn more about the services.
You can also call 211 from anywhere in Iowa; we recommend using the website first because you can read the information in your language.