Heart of West Michigan United Way 2-1-1 helpline expands into additional counties

October 26, 2018

For many families in Kent County, 2-1-1 makes it easier to find help for themselves, a neighbor, or a loved one. Now, Heart of West Michigan United Way’s service covers 14 counties, expanding into parts of Northern Michigan and Mid-Michigan.

Navigating nonprofit and government help and resources can be time-consuming and confusing. 2-1-1 is free to use and connects Michigan residents with help and answers from thousands of health and human services agencies and resources right in their communities—quickly, easily, and confidentially. Those in need of assistance can be referred to and sometimes directly connected with the most fitting agencies and community organizations. 2-1-1 connects people to services including food, shelter, utility assistance, childcare, holiday assistance, and more.

“Whoever you are, whatever your needs, 2-1-1 makes it easier to find help,” says Sherri Vainavicz, 2-1-1 Programs & Services Director. “This is a service that is so vital to the communities and we are thrilled to help fill the gaps in areas that had limited or no 2-1-1 coverage.”


Heart of West Michigan United Way 2-1-1 covers the following counties:

  • Mason

  • Mecosta

  • Montcalm

  • Newaygo

  • Oceana

  • Osceola

  • Kent

  • Antrim

  • Benzie

  • Grand Traverse

  • Ionia

  • Kalkaska

  • Lake

  • Leelanau

Heart of West Michigan United Way works in conjunction with the United Ways in these counties to provide the service and ensure their database of local resources is up-to-date for their region. No matter where the caller is from, the 2-1-1 call specialists will be able to direct them to services in their community.


  • In September 2002, Heart of West Michigan United Way’s 2-1-1 began in Kent County.

  • In 2016, Heart of West Michigan United Way began taking calls for Lake, Mason, Mecosta, Newaygo, Oceana, and Osceola.

  • In July 2018, Ionia and Montcalm counties were added.

  • In September 2018, the counties of Antrim, Benzie, Grand Traverse, Kalkaska, and Leelanau were added.