Barnegat Mayor Lauds Oasis for Helping the Needy

By Eric Englund | Dec 04, 2019

Barnegat — Organizations that help families and individuals during times of crisis took center stage at the Barnegat Township Committee meeting during the morning of Dec. 3. Mayor Alfonso Cirulli presented a plaque of appreciation to representatives of Oasis Family Success Center, located at 175 Gunning River Rd. in the township.

Alyssa Kertil, program manager, said the center is a community-based, family-centered neighborhood gathering place where residents go for family support, interactive workshops, activities and groups. She said the center is designed to bring the community together to build relationships, and strengthen the community and the families in it. She said it is a place where residents and volunteers share their time and talent to build community capacity, enrich the lives of community members and make families aware of neighborhood services.

“We don’t actually provide the services they need, whether it is financial, job training need or another matter,” she said. “But we will work with people and help them go to wherever they need to go so they can get these very important services.”

Cirulli noted that the group opened its Barnegat location in 2017, and within that first year, approximately 250 families were served.

“In 2019, the number has jumped to 587,” he said. “They are a great example of people who reach out to the community and help those going through difficult times.”

He noted Oasis also holds special events, such as gatherings with the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus.

“And a week before Thanksgiving, they had a community Thanksgiving dinner at the Dunfee (Elementary) School in which 157 dinners were served.”

“I’m very pleased that our school district can partner with them,” said Barnegat School District Superintendent Brain Latwis. “What you do is give hope to people who are going through rough times.”

Cari Burke, director of the Barnegat facility, said Oasis is a New Jersey-based organization that has 57 locations throughout the state.

“Barnegat was the third to open in Ocean County,” she said.

For more information, people can call 609-994-0200.

In addition, the committee heard a presentation from Interfaith Health and Support Services of Southern Ocean County, located at 1140 Route 72 West in Stafford Township. Program director Kathi Cheeseman said the group has 277 volunteers who help the organization provide a variety of free services to the homebound and elderly, including transportation to medical appointments, grocery shopping, respite care for primary caregivers, pet therapy visits, home hair cutting, making reassurance calls and networking with other social services.

Cheeseman said Interfaith is supported by 24 religious and health organizations.

“We are looking for volunteers who serve others with love, respect, hope and compassion,” she said. “We need people who want to make a difference in someone’s life and who have time and the desire to reach out and help our neighbors and communities.”

For assistance or to become a volunteer, people can call 609-978-3839.

— Eric Englund

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