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president's message

Jim Jacob, President & CEO

At NJ SHARES, we realize that our work toward affordable utilities translates to mean so many different, yet vital things for our neighbors – like sustaining successful families and maintaining safe neighborhoods.

All of these things contribute to our overall efforts to reduce and eliminate poverty in New Jersey. I was honored to celebrate the Anti-Poverty Network of New Jersey’s 15th Anniversary Celebration this month. Having celebrated that similar milestone anniversary at NJ SHARES recently, our involvement at this event reinforced the importance of collaborative efforts as we work toward common goals.

We continue to work together with our utility and telecommunications partners, legislative partners, donors, friends and agency partners to serve as a safety net for those who do not qualify for traditional assistance programs.

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the cost of electricity has increased slightly over the last five years in New Jersey, while the cost of natural gas has remained steady. The past several winters in New Jersey, however, have been colder than normal according to Rutgers University. This past winter, in particular, lasted longer than normal as well. While the average US household spends about $2,000 on utility bills annually, the prolonged cold led to higher bills in our area this year. 

For many families, slightly higher energy bills cause a major financial burden and possibly a disruption of service. Many of our clients are unaware of the many ways to reduce their energy burden. The support of our partners, donors and friends, allows NJ SHARES energy assistance programs to provide a safety net for households to overcome temporary financial setbacks through utility bill assistance.

As we work towards more broadly educating our neighbors on ways to reduce their energy burden, we also share information about additional programs available to provide energy audits and measures to qualified households.

New Jersey Comfort Partners provides installation of energy efficiency measures, personalized customer energy education and counseling for households at or below 225% of the FPL. For more information call 1-888-773-8326.

Weatherization provides weatherizing for households up to 200% of the FPL improving heating system efficiency and conserving energy. For more information visit:

For more information on any of the programs offered by our valued partners above, as well as any of our energy assistance programs, visit our website or call our toll-free hotline today – 1-866-NJSHARES (657-4273).

Best regards,

Jim Jacob

What's New

Pictured here are Serena Rice, Executive Director of APN with Jim Jacob.

NJ SHARES Celebrates APN’s 15th Anniversary

NJ SHARES joined the Anti-Poverty Network of New Jersey (APN) and anti-poverty partners from across the state for APN’s 15th Anniversary Celebration and Fundraiser – The Commitment to End Poverty. The event was held on May 18 at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Trenton.

This milestone anniversary celebrated community collaboration and honored the work of two outstanding leaders dedicated to ending poverty - Congressman Rush Holt, Jr. and Legal Services Advocate Connie Pascale, Esq.

NJ SHARES President Jim Jacob, who also serves as Board President of APN’s Executive Committee, was invited to say a few words to those who attended the event.

The night also featured a delicious dinner, a presentation of awards, a performance by the amazing FunkTASKtics, basket auctions, networking and a screening of the premiere of APN's 15th Anniversary video – Voices of Victory.

Dena Shipley represents NJ SHARES at National Association of Social Workers Conference.

NJ SHARES Supports New Jersey’s Social Workers

Many lives are improved by the numerous unsung heroes that provide social services throughout our state’s communities.

NJ SHARES partners with more than 300 organizations whose vital support connects our programs with our neighbors who need it. NJ SHARES celebrates the many thousands of social workers in New Jersey who are working every day with people to help improve lives, communities and organizations.

That’s why earlier this month we attended the New Jersey Chapter of the National Social Worker’s Association Conference. Their 45th anniversary theme was “Creating a Culture of Collaboration.”

Dena Shipley, NJ SHARES’ Outreach Coordinator, managed an exhibit table at the event – giving us the opportunity to meet with social workers one-on-one and talk about our various programs and services.

Kerry Krautwald, a social worker specializing in support for victims of domestic violence, visited our table to let us know, “NJ SHARES programs are a great resource to people who think they have nowhere to turn to for help.”

Heroes like Kerry understand the collaborative culture that is necessary to connect clients with vital resources. We are proud to work with so many of these heroes each day.

NJ SHARES sincerely thanks our sponsor, Verizon New Jersey, who made it possible to support the New Jersey Social Workers and provided us with this exhibit opportunity.

Burlington county neighbors gather to get information and resources.

NJ SHARES Attends 16th Annual Senior Expo in Burlington County

NJ SHARES participated in the 16th Annual Burlington County Senior Expo, organized by the Burlington County Sheriff and Board of Chosen Freeholders.

This free event, hosted at the Masonic Home in Burlington Township, was well-attended, and provided NJ SHARES with an opportunity to distribute information about our programs to seniors, as well as network with other community groups.

The expo included a shredding truck, tote bags to the first 500 seniors, raffles, door prizes, lunch and medical screenings. Additionally, many agencies were on hand to answer questions regarding services, resources and programs of interest to seniors.

Pictured are Michelle Phoenix and Tahira Chambers; Director, Hillside Family Success Center.

Hillside Family Success Center Joins NJ SHARES Partner Network

Agency Spotlight

NJ SHARES is fortunate to partner with more than 240 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 United Way and the Hillside Family Success Center.

Tahira Chambers, Director of the Hillside Family Success Center said, “Our center is a progressive hub offering a menu of services to help households remain successful.” Ms. Chambers continued, “We are thrilled to be a new partner with NJ SHARES and to offer the members of our community a confidential place to turn to for help with their utility bills.”
In addition to offering NJ SHARES programs, the Hillside Family Success Center offers, Advocacy Family Services, Adult Literacy Workshops, NJ Family Care, Food Stamps, Computer Training, Employment Assistance, Heath and Wellness programs, Life Skills trainings and much more.

Family Success Centers are community-based gathering places where any resident can go for support, information and services.  These centers enrich the lives of children and adults by helping families and neighborhoods succeed.  The centers located in Union county are overseen by the United Way.

Cheryl Stowell, former Government Affairs Director for NJ SHARES.

NJ SHARES’ Cheryl Stowell Joins Tonio Burgos Associates, Inc.

Congratulations to our former Government Affairs Director Cheryl Stowell who has accepted an offer to work as Vice President of Legislative Affairs for Tonio Burgos and Associates, Inc. – a lobbying firm, located at 200 West State Street in Trenton.

Cheryl has worked with NJ SHARES for 9 years and has been an important part of our energy affordability team. She has been dedicated to advancing the mission and work of NJ SHARES, and we will miss her dearly. 

We wish her much success in her new endeavor, and hope the future brings many opportunities for us to work together to support affordability for the working and limited income population in New Jersey.


Expedited Benefits for Wounded Warriors

Want to learn about how Social Security expedites disability benefits for wounded warriors? We invite you to visit today for more information. If you or your clients served in the Armed Forces and are planning for retirement, please refer to Social Security’s official publication, Military Service and Social Security, at Additionally, you also may want to visit the Military Service page of Social Security’s Retirement Planner, which is available at

CARE Act: Supporting New Jersey’s Caregivers

On May 12th, the Caregiver Advise, Record, Enable (CARE) Act to better support family caregivers as they safely help New Jersey seniors stay at home officially became a law. The CARE Act recognizes the critical role family caregivers play in keeping their loved ones out of costly institutions.

More than one million New Jersey residents are caring for an aging parent or loved one, helping them live independently in their own homes.

Our partners, AARP and the United Way, work to ensure unpaid family caregivers, a once isolated community, have access to information, education, resources, services and support – in the community and workplace. They also help caregivers sustain their own physical, emotional and financial health.

The law features three important provisions:
• The name of the family caregiver is recorded when a loved one is admitted into a hospital
• The family caregiver is notified if the loved one is to be discharged to another facility or back home
• The hospital must provide an explanation and live or video instruction of the medical tasks – such as medication management, injections, wound care and transfers – that the family caregiver will perform at home.

For more information visit AARP’s Family Caregiving Resource Center  and reference the United Way’s Regional Caregiver Resources Guide.

Looking for an Affordable Care Act Enrollment Center?

New Jersey Citizen Action offers free help to understanding your health insurance options under the Affordable Care Act (Obama Care). It’s never too late to get a quality health care plan – qualifying life changes make you eligible for healthcare right now during this special enrollment period.  Call 1-888-829-3711 for an appointment or for more information.


Mercer County Medi-Cool Program

With funding provided by Mercer County’s Department of Human Services Office on Aging, Catholic Charities - Diocese of Trenton and Rise of Hightstown have partnered to provide 5,000 BTU Air Conditioning Units to needy senior or disabled residents of Mercer County.
Catholic Charities and Rise will screen applicants for eligibility from May 1 to June 8, 2015.  Approved applicants will receive a voucher and be scheduled to pick up their air conditioner from a storage facility in Trenton on a specific date and time.

For more information or to schedule an eligibility screening, contact one of the programs: Markeesha Ferguson - (Catholic Charities – Trenton) at 609-394-8847 x2529 or or Anna Vasquez - (Rise – Hightstown) 609-443-4464 or

Agency ToolBox

Agency Toolbox Update

Just a reminder that system updates and training packets will be available for download as of June 1st.

The application season has ended for the Federal Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), an energy assistance program for low-income families.

However there is help available for those in need. Households with income upto175% Federal Poverty Level (FPL) can apply for the state’s Universal Service Fund at 1-800-510-3102 for utility bill payment assistance. In addition to energy assistance, households with income up to 225% can apply for energy efficiency and conservation benefits from the Comfort Partners program 1-888-773-8326.

Households with income over 175% FPL and up to 400% FPL can apply for the NJ SHARES program. Clients no longer have to apply for the PAGE program prior to applying for NJ SHARES.

New Jersey SHARES |
1901 North Olden Avenue Extention Suite 1-A | Ewing, NJ 08618-2111
Phone: 609-883-1626 | Toll Free: 866-657-4273 | Fax: 609-883-6364 | Email
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1901 North Olden Avenue Extension, Suite 1A | Ewing, NJ 08618
Phone: 609-883-1626 | Toll Free: 866-657-4273 | Fax: 609-883-6364 | Email
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