Church of God Members Volunteer at NJ211 during Superbowl XLVIII
All hands were on deck in the New York Metropolitan Area as Super Bowl XLVIII brought in hundreds of thousands of visitors to the area the weekend of February 2, 2014.
Church of God members were surely part of New Jersey’s preparedness plan in case of any emergencies. As certified first responders, about 60 members from the World Mission Society Church of God volunteered to provide special back-up and support at the NJ211 Partnership Call Center in Whippany, NJ.
As NJ211 is a 24/7/365 information and referral service for NJ residents, it also serves a supportive role in providing preparedness information and an easy-to-remember portal for citizen information during emergencies. As more than 82,000 people enjoyed Super Bowl XLVIII at MetLife Stadium, Church of God volunteers were on stand-by from early afternoon until midnight to help report missing persons should an accident or other types of emergencies occur.
Upon arrival, the members separated into two separate hour-long sessions to learn the Uniform Victim Identification System (UVIS), a software application that documents missing person reports. Adding another layer of first response preparedness, they were able to learn how to operate the system hands-on.
Known for wearing their yellow shirts during their on-the-ground volunteer activities and disaster relief work, this training allowed volunteers to learn other ways in which to help the community, even through the telephone. The training addressed the importance of remaining calm for the listener, asking and answering the right questions and showing compassion and consideration to their callers’ concerns.
Fortunately, the members did not take a single “real” call during those nine hours of waiting time. Nevertheless, the volunteers wasted no time and took this as an opportunity to build new relationships with the community, clean up the facility, eat together, study the Bible and even watch some special volunteer service videos with neighbors. Some members were even found singing together in the kitchen during down time, while others watched the Super Bowl and still others simply enjoyed each others’ company.
The energy and excitement in the facility was something unseen there before and Church of God members look forward to the next opportunity to bring this excitement back to NJ211.