United Way’s 211 Helpline Providing Free Lyft Rides to COVID-19 Vaccine Appointments

For Immediate Release: May 13, 2021

United Way’s 211 Helpline Providing Free Lyft Rides to COVID-19 Vaccine Appointments

The 211 Helpline, housed at United Way of the Midlands, is proud to announce it has locally launched the Ride United Vaccine Access Campaign in partnership with Lyft. Through this program, eligible residents in the Omaha-Council Bluffs metro, Lincoln and Lancaster County can access free and discounted Lyft rides to COVID-19 vaccine appointments.

Lyft announced its commitment to help provide access to rides to and from vaccine appointments alongside coalition partners, including United Way, in December 2020. Utilizing the Lyft network, participating local United Way and 211 teams are able to provide resources to eligible community members, ensuring they have access to transportation for their vaccination appointments.

Currently, rides are only available to COVID-19 vaccination appointments that have been scheduled in advance. To schedule a ride to or from an appointment, individuals should contact the 211 Helpline by calling 2-1-1 or 402-444-6666. Community Resource Specialists are available to help callers 24/7. They can assist people in 150+ languages through the use of their Language Line translation services. Services are also accessible for people with disabilities. Callers do not need access to a smartphone or Lyft app to use a free ride.

“Transportation has proven to be a key issue for many individuals looking to obtain their vaccines,” said Eddie Clark, senior director of the NE 211 Helpline at United Way of the Midlands. “As the county, state and federal response to vaccine rollout continues, we are proud to be a part of the Ride United Vaccine Access Campaign so eligible people can receive the COVID-19 vaccine, even if they lack transportation.” Vaccination rides are the latest implementation of the Ride United program, a partnership between participating local United Ways, 211 Helplines and Lyft that seeks to reduce transportation barriers that prevent community members from accessing healthcare, getting quality jobs, completing education programs and more.

The 211 Helpline has provided approximately 900 rides locally through the Ride United program since its local launch in 2019.

About the 211 Helpline
Housed at United Way of the Midlands, the 211 Helpline is a free, one-stop source of information for people in need of assistance in Nebraska and southwest Iowa. When someone reaches out to 211, a Community Resource Specialist assesses their situation and then utilizes an extensive, up-to-date database to find the best resource(s) to meet their needs. They act as a single point of contact for thousands of health and human service programs, community services, disaster services and governmental programs. To receive assistance, individuals are invited to call 2-1-1, text their zip code to 898211, visit www.ne211.org or download the 211 Nebraska/SW Iowa app from Google Play or the App Store.

About United Way of the Midlands
United Way of the Midlands (UWM) has served the Omaha-Council Bluffs metro for 98 years. Guided by best practices and community input, it approaches poverty in a specific way – a “united” way. With the support of volunteers, community partners and donors, UWM invests donor dollars efficiently and effectively in our local community. These dollars fund basic needs, education and financial stability programs at local nonprofits, creating a circle of support for people in need. Please visit unitedwaymidlands.org for more information.

Read full press release here.