By TIM KELLY
Just days following Mayor Jay Gillian’s call for its help, the volunteer, non-profit organization OCNJ CARE is up and running, ready to serve local residents in need who’ve been affected by the coronavirus outbreak.
Those wishing to connect with the group may also do so through the city’s website at www.ocnj.us/ocnjcare by calling 609-399-6111 or emailing email@example.com .
The group’s mission, Chairman Drew Fasy said, is to assist all those in the community affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, as well as related business closings, quarantines and restrictions.
“Anyone needing help is going to receive it,” Gillian said while announcing the group’s rebooting.
OCNJ CARE had ceased operations several years following Superstorm Sandy in 2012 and helping virtually every known victim.
“We never went away,” Fasy said. “We simply stopped operations because there was no longer a need.”
But when New Jersey schools and most businesses were ordered closed indefinitely by Gov. Phil Murphy to help stem the spread of the coronavirus, it became clear the tourism-based Ocean City economy would be taking a hit and that lives would be affected.
“Right now, the critical need is financial donations,” Fasy said. “That’s our big push right now. (In order to provide these services) we need some cash. We encourage all who can help us to join in and help our efforts financially.”
The group’s charge, to provide food, transportation and other assistance to those in need, obviously costs money. Fasy appealed to those folks able and willing to donate to the cause to do so.
The OCNJ CARE website was developed by Ken Wisnefski, founder and CEO of the digital marketing firm WebiMax. Wisnefski is also the majority owner of OCNJDaily.com.
“I was more than happy to help in any way that I could,” Wisnefski, an Ocean City resident, said of OCNJ CARE.
“Drew and the group did an amazing job after Sandy. We are lucky to have such a great group of people dedicated to helping the community,” Wisnefski added. “I applaud the Mayor for being proactive and getting this mobilized so quickly.”
The re-tooled website includes contacts for the group including donations. Mailed donations may be sent to OCNJ CARE Project, Box 807, Ocean City, N.J. 08226.
There are also online forms to apply for assistance and to volunteer.
Among other services, to be determined on a case-by-case basis, the group is ready to:
- Assist at-risk populations (including older adults) in shopping, picking up medications or traveling to locations they’ve been advised to avoid.
- Cooking and delivering meals to anyone in need, including schoolchildren and older adults.
- Providing relief for families unable to meet basic needs.
Fasy said there would also be a mental health component to the group’s assistance, as many of those affected by the coronavirus crisis have been stricken with anxiety and uncertainty about the future.
“Sometimes, people just need someone to listen or to be there for reassurance,” Fasy said. “We plan to help out in any way we can, even if it’s just to let the at-risk people know they are not alone.”