UJA-NNJ taking to the phones for annual Super Sunday fund-raiser
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UJA-NNJ taking to the phones for annual Super Sunday fund-raiser

Meteorologists are calling for a rainy, dreary Sunday, but UJA Federation of Northern New Jersey is banking on bright and generous moods as it turns to the phones for its annual Super Sunday fund-raiser.

The federation’s biggest fund-raiser, last year it brought in more than $1 million for the annual campaign, which supports 60 local agencies such as Jewish Family Service and area day schools, as well as programs in Israel. This year organizers hope to again pull in more than $1 million, said co-chair Howard Chernin of Woodcliff Lake.

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Super Sunday is all about making a difference, says Howard Chernin, Super Sunday co-chair.

“This annual campaign helps us support so many great causes and agencies,” he said. “It’s extremely important that we’re successful at doing what we need to do.”

More than 300 volunteers are expected at UJA-NNJ’s Paramus headquarters on Sunday to make calls. People need to be passionate during tough times, Chernin said.

“It’s all about making a difference,” he said. “It’s the execution that matters. You just can’t execute [successfully] with one person; you need a community. We need everyone to help us.”

Jonathan Rochlin is Chernin’s co-chair, while long-time Jewish communal leader George Hantgan is Super Sunday’s honorary chair and David Smith is the community campaign chair.

Who: UJA Federation of Northern New Jersey

What: Super Sunday

When: Sunday, Dec. 12, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Where: 50 Eisenhower Drive, Paramus

For more information or to volunteer: Call (201) 820-3950

Chernin hopes to draw at least 400 volunteers on Sunday to increase the number of calls being made.

“The more calls you make, the more gifts you get,” he said. “The more gifts you get, the more dollars it translates into.”

The economy is better than it has been in recent years but many are still struggling and out of work. Not everyone who donated in the past is able to this year, though. If someone says he or she cannot donate because of financial troubles, volunteers have been directed to point that person to one of UJA-NNJ’s agencies for help.

“Super Sunday is the time when we reach out and speak to hundreds of people not only to ask for their support but also to find out if they need help,” said Howard Charish, UJA-NNJ’s executive vice president. “Each year, through crisis lines manned by our Jewish Family Service agencies, we uncover individuals in dire circumstances and immediately deploy assistance. Super Sunday is doing acts of loving kindness on a grand scale.”

The day will also include a blood drive from noon to 4 p.m. and a drive to collect toiletries, kosher food, and cleaning supplies for Jewish Family Service clients.

Volunteers can expect incentives throughout the day, said Allison Halpern, UJA-NNJ’s campaign strategic planning director, who is coordinating the volunteer effort.

Petak’s is donating food throughout the day for volunteers, and as an added incentive, the agency that sends the most number of volunteers will receive a dinner catered by Foremost Catering. Other prizes have been donated for callers who pull in the most donations.

“We’re really blessed that groups from different congregations and schools and agencies do participate and we just want to bring that to the next level and give incentives,” Halpern said.

New this year is a Youtube training video in which Chernin gives volunteers a crash course in calling, from opening to closing.

“We go through a whole training method in four minutes,” Chernin said. “We tried to make it nice and easy and bring it up to date.”

While some volunteers have been calling for years – Hantgan has been calling for 60 – UJA-NNJ is also expecting many first-time callers, particularly young volunteers from Bergen County High School for Jewish Studies, Hillel, and the day schools.

“We have our littlest volunteers, whose parents are our volunteers and lay leaders, to people in their 80s,” Halpern said. “It runs the gamut.”

To watch UJA-NNJ’s Super Sunday training video, visit www.ujannj.org/supersunday.

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