CEDAR KNOLLS, NJ- On February 11, NJ 2-1-1 and all 2-1-1's across the country commemorated 2-1-1 Day in honor of a national system designed to be a front line in resource and referral for those seeking help with health and human service needs. In our state the system was put in place when the N.J. Board of Public Utilities designated the 3 digit dialing code as a direct line for information and referral services for New Jersey residents in need. NJ 2-1-1 opened its doors in 2005 and has been answering calls for help since then, each year showing increasingly higher call volumes. In 2019, over 667,000 connections to help, reflecting an increase of 19% when compared to the previous year.
This year the organization celebrated the day in Randolph Township, where officials have made some significant efforts to raise awareness for all that NJ 2-1-1 has to offer. “When I first learned about NJ 2-1-1, I was amazed by the extent of the resource database as well as the live assistance available at any time of the day or night,” Randolph Township Councilwoman Marie Potter explains. Councilwoman Potter contacted NJ 2-1-1 to learn more and then took steps to introduce the service to Mayor Loveys and Township Manager Steve Mountain. What they learned struck a chord. “There are times when people come into our offices and are looking for answers for difficult life challenges that they are facing. Up until now we haven’t always been able to find a solution for them, says Mr. Mountain. “Now that we know about NJ 2-1-1, we can feel confident about asking them to call or search their online database to explore options that can help.”
This realization was the impetus for the training that will be taking place in the Randolph Township Municipal Building on the morning of February 11. An invitation to attend has gone out to first responders (lead EMTs, firefighters, police officers), municipal employees, school and student leaders and township librarians. The two-hour program will include an introduction to the 2-1-1 national network and a review of the history of NJ 2-1-1 by Executive Director Melissa Acree. The program will be followed by a tour of the organization’s website and resource database with tips about how to optimize a search. “We are looking forward to educating the leaders of Randolph Township about how they can best utilize our service so that they in turn will be able to share information about 2-1-1 with the public they serve who may need it the most,” explains Ms. Acree.
Randolph Township has already shown its commitment to its citizenry in this regard. After learning about NJ 2-1-1 they added its logo and a direct link to its website on the township’s home page and formed a committee dedicated to reaching out to service providers to ensure that all are represented in the 2-1-1 resource database. “Our motto, ‘Where Life is Worth Living,’ reflects the belief that Randolph offers its residents a special place in which to live and raise a family,” says recently named Mayor Christine Carey. “We are all committed to doing what we can to equip our residents with the tools they need to live well. NJ 2-1-1 offers valuable resources that will help.”
About NJ 2-1-1 The statewide information and referral service began in 2002 when the United Ways of New Jersey spearheaded efforts to give people-in-need an easy way to find health and human services by encouraging the Board of Public Utilities to designate the NJ 2-1-1 Partnership as the sole administrator of the three digit dialing code. Statewide coverage began in 2005. In 2017 alone, the NJ 2-1-1 Partnership provided resource assistance to over 455,000 people who called 2-1-1 or visited our website. With roughly 3,000 agencies in the organization’s resource database and over 10,000 programs and services listed, NJ 2-1-1 provides the public with front door access to nonprofit, government and faith-based services, as well as disaster response information. Follow us on Twitter @NJ211 and FB https: //www.facebook.com/nj211partnership/.
About Randolph Township Comprising twenty-one square miles, Randolph Township is recognized as a superb town to live and raise a family. Located in the center of prestigious Morris County, Randolph benefits from excellent schools, beautiful parks and terrific recreation programs. With just under 26,000 residents residing in the community, the Randolph School district serves students in kindergarten through twelfth grade. The school system operates four elementary schools, a middle school and a high school. Randolph also hosts the County College of Morris campus offering associates degrees in a number of popular majors.