Legislative Black Caucus Working With Christie Administration On Haiti Relief Effort

At a news conference in the Statehouse Annex, Senator Ronald Rice, D-Essex, Chair of the Legislative Black Caucus, outlines the caucus's 06-07 legislative agenda, focusing on protecting kids from the dangers of gangs and drugs.

TRENTON – Sen. Ron Rice (D-Essex) said today the Legislative Black Caucus is working together with Gov. Chris Christie’s administration to streamline the effort to respond to victims of the Haiti earthquake by giving people a single telephone number – 2-1-1 – to call when they want to get information and offer help.

“The Legislative Black Caucus has been talking to members of the Haitian community since this tragedy occurred,” Sen. Rice, who is chairman of the caucus, said. “They’ve told us the biggest thing we can do to help is to make sure there’s one place they can call to get information about offering assistance. We’ve met with the Christie administration about this and we’re going to use the existing 2-1-1 information system to get people the information they need. This will make it easier for everyone to deliver help to the people of Haiti.”

The 2-1-1 system is an existing service provided through a public-private partnership between the state and United Way agencies around New Jersey. The 2-1-1 system, which can be reached using a using a land line, cell phone or the internet, collects information on disaster resources and shares it those who call or log in. The website address is: www.nj211.org. The information collected at the site has been checked to make sure it is reliable.

“Since the devastating earthquake in Haiti on January 12th, people around the world have been responding by trying to get money, food, water and medical supplies to where it’s most needed,” Sen. Rice said. “This isn’t easy in a disaster of this magnitude. By providing a single site where information on all New Jersey’s efforts is available, people who want to help are less like to give up in frustration. They’ll also feel more confident knowing the resources they are directed to have been vetted by the state.

“I want to thank Gov. Christie for taking the time to meet with members of the Legislative Black Caucus and assigning someone in his administration to work with us. And I’ve also had informal conversations with Sen. Bob Menendez and Congressman Donald Payne about working with us here at the state level to ensure we have the most accurate and up-to-date information about the situation on the ground from our State Department. I know all of these efforts will go a long way toward helping the people of Haiti get through this.”