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Dear Abby: Dialing 211 can provide a lot of help

Dear Abby: We are writing in response to the question you printed in January about where to find affordable counseling. Your suggestions were helpful, but we want to share another one:

The easy-to-remember telephone number 211 is one that, where available, connects people to information about critical, free or low-cost health and human services in their community; 211 reaches about 270 million people (90 percent of the U.S. population), covering all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Canada. It is a free, confidential resource.

Similar to dialing 911 for emergencies, calling 211 helps people seeking training, employment, food pantries, shelter, assistance for aging parents, addiction-prevention programs for teenagers, affordable-housing options and support groups. It provides a one-stop service for community referrals.

Abby, won’t you share this information with your readers? Everyone knows someone who needs help; 211 is there for them.

– Staff of 211 in California

Dear Staff: I’m pleased to pass along this important resource, which serves such a large portion of the population. Thank you for taking the time to offer it to my readers.

Engaged, pregnant by whom?

Dear Abby: I am 28 and engaged to marry a wonderful man, “Ryan.” Before I met him, I was involved in an affair with my married boss and was deeply in love with him. (I still am.) We continued our affair even after I met Ryan, and now I think I’m pregnant. I told my boss and, naturally, he’s not happy about it.

I don’t know how to tell Ryan or if I even want to. I have always wanted to be a mother, and now I have the chance. But I may end up doing it alone in poor financial shape. I also won’t have a home to live in once my old-fashioned mother finds out I’ve gotten myself pregnant before marriage. Any advice?

Scared Stupid in New Jersey

Dear Scared Stupid: Yes. Take a pregnancy test to determine if you really are pregnant. If it turns out that you are, then you must tell your fiancé everything. Even if Ryan walks away, the baby’s father will be legally responsible for child support.

She gets to keep the ring

Dear Abby: I know if a girl breaks off the engagement, she’s supposed to return the ring to her ex-fiancé. Does the situation of a wife filing for divorce fall under the same set of rules with her engagement ring? I need a response soon.

– Craig in Texas

Dear Craig: No. If the engagement ring was given with the promise of marriage and the promise was fulfilled, she is not expected to return it.