Lorna Swinton answers calls from the 211 hotline. (Source: Kyle Gamble)
Lorna Swinton answers calls from the 211 hotline. (Source: Kyle Gamble)

United Way of Lancaster County is gearing up for a virtual Extraordinary Give on Friday, Nov. 20, with a 211-themed digital resource navigator activity.

In lieu of in-person activities during the Extraordinary Give, United Way of Lancaster County has created the virtual activity. It’s designed to acquaint people with some of the services available through the 211 network, a program that functions as a hotline to provide support and referrals for a broad range of local social services.

The scavenger hunt questionnaire, available electronically, consists of 10 questions that guide participants through the 211 website. Questions include finding the food bank closest to participants’ homes, the name of a Lancaster language interpretation organization and more.

All answers can be found by searching in the services locator on uwlanc.org and pa211east.org.

Most questions have multiple questions and answers.

Once their questionnaires are printed and completed, participants can bring them to the United Way office, where staff will be stationed outside in a drive through format to collect them. Staff will be available to answer questions about 211, VITA and other United Way programs.

There will also be prize-filled gift bags from United Way for those who deliver their completed scavenger hunt sheets before 6:00 p.m. Gift bags will include gift cards, coupons and other promotional materials from local businesses including Lancaster Cupcakes, Go ‘N Bananas and Horse Inn.

Participants may also email their completed scavenger hunts to [email protected] instead and will receive a digital gift card in lieu of a gift bag.

The annual Extraordinary Give is a “community-wide celebration of generosity” that supports the work of nearly 500 organizations serving people across Lancaster County. 

Donations are collected online all day, with the possibility of prizes for individual and corporate donors, as well as special events put on by the participating organizations themselves.

United Way of Lancaster County, the sponsor of One United Lancaster, has been participating in the Extraordinary Give since the day of giving began. The funds given on this day primarily support 211 East, as well as the VITA program and other outreach initiatives.

According to Toni Gainer, 211 director for United Way of Lancaster County, calls to 211 for rent assistance, shelters, low-cost housing and help dealing with landlord/tenant issues have all steadily increased since the pandemic began.

Donations will be accepted through the website throughout Nov. 20. Specific donation amounts are listed, but giving in any amount is welcomed.

All donations during the Extraordinary Give will be “stretched” through a $500,000 fund provided by the Extraordinary Give sponsors, which include Rodgers & Associates and the High Foundation.

Olivia Smucker