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Jim Jacob, President & CEO
For many of us, the holidays are filled with hope and good cheer and are a time to enjoy the company of family and friends.
However, many working families and senior citizens face the choice between celebrating with loved ones and being able to heat and light their homes.
During this special time of year, as you think about how you might help others in your community, we hope you will consider making a gift to NJ SHARES.
Every gift, no matter the size, will ease the burden for a neighbor who cannot afford heat, electricity, or hot water. The generosity of people like you helps our neighbors avoid the tragedies associated with not having life-sustaining utility services.
As the year draws to a close, I would like to recognize our generous donors. We are so grateful to all of our partner agencies and supporters who have helped us provide energy assistance to more than 180,000 households over the past 17 years. As we continue to work together to help our neighbors who are facing difficult circumstances and hardship, we thank you for your continued support.
Thank you and warm wishes for the holiday season and the New Year ahead.
Need a Last Minute Holiday Gift?
NJ DEVILS SHARES Discounted Tickets Just for You!
Discount Tickets Available: NJ SHARES Night with the DEVILS – January 8, 2016!The New Jersey Devils will once again “Share the Warmth” as they take the ice on January 8, 2016 against the Boston Bruins by offering DISCOUNTED stadium tickets to our supporters with proceeds benefiting NJ SHARES! In addition, each ticket purchaser will receive a FREE Devils gift!
Purchase your tickets to the game today – NJ SHARES will be recognized as the Devils’ Community Assist Non-Profit of the Game on the 8th! You can mingle with us on the concourse and see our featured highlights during the game.
To purchase tickets, visit: newjerseydevils.com/NJSHARES and use promo code SHARES16. To purchase 10 or more tickets, email Mike Simonetta at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Poverty Benchmark Report Released
Legal Services of New Jersey’s (LSNJ) Poverty Research Institute recently issued their Poverty Benchmarks 2015 report. The study offers an in-depth analysis of the impact of poverty within New Jersey based on extensive data and information compiled by LSNJ. The report also provides a comprehensive overview of the challenges New Jersey is facing as poverty continues to grow within our state, as well as suggestions for positive change.
Some sobering statistics are:
- Almost one third, or 2.8 million New Jersey residents face lives of daily deprivation
- Nearly two million adults and 800,000 children in our state live in poverty
- Poverty in New Jersey is at record levels that have not been seen in 50 years
- New Jersey ranks third in the nation in long-term unemployment
- Because of the high cost of living in New Jersey, the actual poverty threshold for our residents is 250 percent of the “official poverty” level as determined by the federal government
NJ SHARES will use the insight the report provides to help raise awareness and provide much-needed education as we work together to help those living in poverty. In addition, our work with the Anti-Poverty Network, which seeks to prevent, reduce and end poverty in New Jersey, will release both The Local Cost of Poverty and The Racism and Poverty Report early next year.
NJ SHARES remains committed to working together with our partners to advocate for social justice. These reports will offer important analysis of the impact for each area of focus and will serve as a way to encourage dialogue on critical issues surrounding poverty in New Jersey.
Comfort Partners Marks Milestone - 100,000th Low-Income Households Helped
Since 2001, Comfort Partners has lowered energy costs for 100,000 New Jersey families who typically spend a high percentage of their income on energy. The Comfort Partners Program is a free energy saving and energy education program for qualified low-income customers provided by the state’s electric and natural gas utilities.
While Comfort Partners saves energy, it can also save lives. The program has helped New Jersey’s low-income residents reduce their annual energy usage while providing increased comfort and safer home temperatures, which can be critical for the elderly, children and the infirm.
Some of the significant benefits include safety testing of all appliances and checking for natural gas and carbon monoxide (CO) leaks. In addition, the program provides education about crucial home maintenance issues that may reduce the risk of fire, CO poisoning, mold and other potential hazards.
Comfort Partners is available to any New Jersey household with significant energy use and an income at or below 225 percent of the federal poverty guidelines or is a participant in one of the following programs: Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP), Lifeline, Pharmaceutical Assistance to the Aged and Disabled (PAAD), Section 8 Housing, Federal Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) or Universal Service Fund (USF). Click here for more information on how to apply.
Pictured at the NJ SHARES display are NJ SHARES' Barbara Gomes and Jim Jacob.
NJ SHARES STATEHOUSE DAY
Monday, December 7th was NJ SHARES Day at the Statehouse in Trenton! NJ SHARES took over “Goldfinch” Square at the intersection of the hallways between the Statehouse, The Annex and the Café. The NJ SHARES team provided statehouse visitors and staff with NJ SHARES program information. The Senate was in session on this date and NJ SHARES was able to speak to some of our Senators and their staff about our programs and partnerships. The event was a great way to educate decision makers on the importance of energy and utility affordability and the work of NJ SHARES.
Pictured from left to right are Kelly Terranova, Renee Gordon-Johnson; Site Manager and Grace Brockel.
AGENCY SPOTLIGHT - Center for Food Action
NJ SHARES is fortunate to partner with more than 250 agencies around the state. Each organization has a different mission and focus but all provide holistic solutions to their community. This month we want to highlight our partnership with the Center for Food Action.
The Center for Food Action provides emergency food, homelessness prevention and utility assistance to tens of thousands of individuals and families living in northern New Jersey.
The Center for Food Action (CFA), founded in 1976, is a non-profit, 501 (c) (3) organization that provides emergency services to northern New Jersey’s poorest and most vulnerable residents. CFA provides food, housing, utility and heating assistance and offers counseling and advocacy services to low-income individuals and families. CFA is headquartered in Englewood and has sites in Fairview, Hackensack, Mahwah, Ridgefield, Ringwood, and Saddle Brook. In 2014, at the request of Bergen Community College, CFA opened a site on BCC’s Paramus campus in order to serve low-income students and their families.
People from more than 100 towns in northern New Jersey receive a wide range of emergency and case management services so that they are able to put food on their tables, keep a roof over their heads, keep their lights and gas on, heat their homes and get the information, referrals, counseling and advocacy services they need to improve their lives.
CFA expended more than $1,450,000 in financial assistance to clients in order to prevent evictions and the disconnection of their electric and gas services and to assist families and seniors with heating oil. Last year, CFA provided over $4,000,000 worth of food, that's over 65,500 emergency and holiday food packages. Six years ago, CFA was giving out 2,500 food packages a month. That number has grown to 4,700 seven-day food packages monthly. CFA also provides holiday food packages to more than 3,300 households.
“We are grateful for our partnership with New Jersey SHARES, which enables us to offer our clients an additional resource for much needed utility assistance”, said Renee Gordon-Johnson, Site Manager for the Center For Food Action in Saddle Brook. NJ SHARES met with Renne Gordon-Johnson on a recent visit to The CFA Saddle Brook location.