New Hotline Gives NJ Residents Opportunities To Volunteer In Emergencies

TRENTON – Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno today announced a new telephone hotline dedicated to supporting New Jersey’s emergency volunteer effort.

During an emergency, citizens who wish to volunteer to help fellow New Jerseyans can call 1-800-JERSEY-7 (1-800-537-7397). This hotline will be staffed and managed by the New Jersey Business Action Center and the Governor’s Office of Volunteerism, and will be activated in anticipation of an impending emergency. Both divisions are within the New Jersey Department of State.

“During Hurricane Irene, I saw firsthand how individual New Jerseyans worked selflessly to help others during a crisis,” said Guadagno. “I also saw an opportunity to enhance our responsiveness to our citizens during emergencies by using our business call center’s resources to better organize volunteers. In the event of an emergency, and especially heading into the 2012 hurricane season, this hotline will better direct New Jersey’s volunteers to assist those in areas where help is needed.”

The Office of Volunteerism and its partners, including New Jersey VOAD (Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters), coordinated more than a thousand volunteers after Hurricane Irene to help New Jersey residents with the clean up and relocation effort.

The New Jersey Business Action Center’s call center also counseled hundreds of businesses following Hurricane Irene, providing advocacy services and critical information about state and federal programs available to businesses affected by the storm.

“The new 800-JERSEY-7 number will greatly improve our efforts to recruit and organize spontaneous volunteers,” said Cathy McCann, chair of NJ VOAD. “With a simple phone call, people can now let us know they’re available and willing to help their fellow New Jerseyans during a crisis.”

During an emergency, calls placed by volunteers to the hotline will be received by BAC, which will work with the Office of Volunteerism and NJ AmeriCorps to direct volunteers. Phone operators will collect basic information, like place of residence, availability and skills, and match volunteers with community emergency needs. New Jersey’s 2-1-1 call center will continue to assist people seeking help.

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