County residents are invited to the Neptune Senior Center Aug. 9 to meet with legislators to get information on a variety of topiccs
By WILLIAM CLARK
Have a question about voting options in local and state elections? Want to know where to register for social security? Need information on benefits for veterans?
You might want to mark your calendar for Wed., Aug.9 from 4 to 7 p.m. when the Neptune Senior Center will host a Constituent Services Fair.
Representatives from federal, state and local offices will be in attendance to answer questions from any resident of Monmouth County.
Randy Bishop, director of the Neptune Senior Center, said that this event is a way to offer information and resources to all people.
“The idea is that we’re all working longer and it’s hard during our business day to stop, pick up the phone and get the answers that we need,” Bishop said.
Although it will take place at the Neptune Senior Center, Bishop said that any resident who feels they could use the information is invited.
“It’s not just for seniors,” he said. “The impetus was seniors but this was for any Monmouth County resident, caregivers of seniors, caregivers of people with disabilities. If you think there’s a resource identified, we’re here.”
Scheduled to attend are representatives from the offices of United States Representative Frank Pallone, New Jersey State Senator Vin Gopal, Monmouth County Clerk Christine Hanlon, the Monmouth County Office on Aging, Neptune Township and Fulfill Food Bank.
Bishop said that this event stemmed from the extended hours once a month the township has put in place for patrons of the senior center, a service that has been vital for seniors who are unable to make it during normal business hours.
It started with ensuring that seniors had access to clinics from the Department of Health for screenings, testing, vaccines and boosters. Bishop also brought in the Department on Aging to make information available for people with disabilities and veteran affairs. Fulfill came aboard as well for those experiencing food insecurity.
Already a powerful line up of service providers, Bishop said Pallone’s office also wanted to give people a resource.
“I was so very pleased when the congressman’s office reached out,” he said.
Pallone said in a statement, “My office in Monmouth County is always available to assist constituents who need help navigating issues with federal agencies. Next week’s constituent services fair will be a great resource for anyone who needs assistance with federal, state, or local agencies. We’ll also have representatives on hand from the Monmouth County Office of Aging and Fulfill. I want everyone to know that we’re here to support them and hope that they will use my office when they need it.”
County residents will have this opportunity to have many of their questions answered or to receive information on services that they might be unaware of.
Bishop said that the monthly extended hours have shown great success in terms of providing assistance especially for those that have no choice but to continue working. Seniors have come in with questions about benefits, medicare applications and uncertainty on how to navigate bureaucracy. One person came in needing help to remain housed.
“With literally three of us sitting in the room we came up with a plan of action helping them not become homeless,” he said.
Neptune Township Committeeman Rob Lane said that the senior center is setting an example for how services should be provided to residents.
“I feel the senior center is a trendsetter,” he said. “We try to think outside the box.”
Lane said this Constituent Night is another step in continuing that process of expansion.
“Almost every agency is going to be there for your needs,” he said. “If not, we are going to help you find that need and direct you to the person you need to go to.”
Bishop said that he hopes this event takes place every six months.
Many people may be participating, but Lane said that those who work for the senior center have been pivotal.
“The director and the staff of the senior center do such a great job,” he said. “It wouldn’t be possible without the great staff and the director. They make things better now and for the future.”