OCNJ CARE Resurrected to Aid Those in Need Amid Coronavirus Outbreak

first_imgBy Tim Kelly“Neighbors helping neighbors.”That is the catch phrase Drew Fasy attaches to the nonprofit organization OCNJ CARE, which is currently rebooting to help vulnerable residents make it through the worldwide coronavirus outbreak.Mayor Jay Gillian announced last Friday in his weekly message that he was asking the group, which proved its mettle in the wake of Superstorm Sandy in 2012, to reorganize in response to the crisis.The organization will plan and execute the town’s main resource to help anyone affected.As at the time of Sandy, OCNJ CARE will provide a go-to point for those needing help, those who wish to serve as volunteers and those who wish to donate to the cause.The group’s operations were suspended several years following the recovery of most of the storm victims.“We never went away,” Fasy said. “We just (ceased activities) because there was no longer a need.”It is hoped that the organization will be just as effective this time around, with a much different and unprecedented type of crisis.Fasy is confident it will do just that.A non-profit, OCNJ CARE will provide meals, transportation and assistance for those in need.“As soon as the mayor’s message came out, my phone started to ring,” said Fasy, a retired realtor and Ocean City resident who is spearheading the group. “It was ‘Drew what do you need?’ or ‘how can I help?’ the response has been just great.”Drew Fasy (right) shown with Ocean City Public Information Officer Doug Bergen, is spearheading the revival of OCNJ CARE.Plans for the group’s reorganization are still in the formative stage, with most specific information premature, Fasy said.However, the leadership has been decided. Fasy asked each sitting Ocean City ward representative to City Council to serve as “ward captains” for the group, and all agreed.Antwan McClellan, the former Second Ward Councilman who stepped down recently following his November election to the State Assembly, agreed to serve as co-ward captain along with City Council President Pete Madden.Ward captains will assess the needs of each ward of the city, identify at-risk individuals and coordinate the overall efforts serving each ward.Ward Captains are as follows:First Ward: Mike DeVliegerSecond Ward: Madden, McClellanThird Ward: Tony WilsonFourth Ward: Bob BarrWilson said he wasn’t the least bit surprised that OCNJ CARE is off to a running start.“Ocean City is a special place,” Wilson said. “When a need arises, Ocean City steps up every time.”Fasy said the most immediate need stemming from the crisis is the increased level of anxiety people are experiencing, particularly seniors.“Seniors are the most at risk,” he said. “We need to reach seniors who might be isolated and feeling anxious because they don’t know what might be happening next. These folks need to know they won’t be alone. Help will be available.”The closing of businesses around town and the “near-curfew” ordered Monday by Gov. Phil Murphy have placed strain on many residents, and could place them in difficult financial situations.What’s more, no one can predict what new challenges could arise as government and health officials work to contain and eventually extinguish the outbreak.That did not deter the Mayor.“I just want to assure everyone that help will be on the way for anyone who needs it,” Gillian said.In the days ahead, OCNJ CARE’s game plan will be announced as will the ways in which people may seek help, volunteer or donate, said Fasy.Anybody who needs assistance, can volunteer to help, or can make a donation is asked to visit www.ocnj.us/ocnjcare, call 609-399-6111 or email [email protected] Superstorm Sandy caused severe flooding in Ocean City, including the downtown business district. That is when OCNJ Care was formed to help the residents. (YouTube image)last_img