Monmouth’s most vulnerable are focus of nonprofit’s COVID fund
LONG BRANCH — Monmouth County is just like any other area of the state when it comes to the COVID-19 crisis, and the most vulnerable in its population figure to need the most urgent help.
So when Family & Children's Service, which has been in operation for more than 100 years in the county, received $50,000 in funding from the Stone Foundation of New Jersey to launch its FCS COVID-19 Fund, it may not have been all too surprising that the nonprofit was overwhelmed with a "tremendous" number of applications, according to CEO Colleen Verriest.
"We have received these funds so they can be put into the hands of those most needing support at this time," Verriest said.
She said the sudden volume of applications meant the organization had to press "pause" briefly, but is expecting to resume accepting apps this week.
Some of the things applicants have said they need so far include groceries, baby supplies such as diapers and formula, car repairs, and car insurance payments. FCS is working with a number of partner organizations during this time: Fulfill, Lunch Break, HABCorp, Interfaith Neighbors, Parker Family Health, and Brookdale Community College among them.
Verriest said visitors to fcsmonmouth.org will see a link on the homepage to the COVID-19 Fund application. They will need appropriate documentation to verify identity, but should expect a response in no more than a day's time.
Residents of Monmouth, Middlesex and Mercer counties are eligible and will receive a one-time payment of $1,000 for urgent expenses.
"We do make a personal phone call to every single applicant and really try to not just respond to the applicant's request, but also to make sure that we're providing additional resources to them," Verriest said.
FCS is geared toward assisting Monmouth County residents of all ages, but often skews older with offerings like home care and adult protective services. They also have volunteers reaching out into area schools with regularity, when those schools are in session.