Jersey Magazine with Jim Monaghan

Jersey Magazine with Jim Monaghan

Jersey Magazine with Jim Monaghan

Hunger in NJ is a year-round problem.

Using the slogan “Hunger doesn’t sleep, so neither will we,” on Friday April 5, 2024 the Community FoodBank of New Jersey will be holding its 3rd Annual 24-Hour Pack-a-Thon.

Kelsey Nakamura is the chairperson for CFBNJ’s Emerging Leaders Board which is hosting Pack-a-Thon, kicking off Volunteer Appreciation Month (which is in April).

 

INTERVIEW EXCERPTS

KELSEY NAKAMURA – Pack-a-Thon is a 24-hour volunteer drive at the Community FoodBank of New Jersey’s warehouse. We pack and we volunteer shifts from 9am in the morning on Friday the 5th through 9am in the morning on Saturday the 6th.

So we have people at the warehouse from the morning through the wee hours of the evening, including an 11.30 to 1.30 shift to 2am to a 4am shift. Volunteers are there packing for two-hour shifts throughout the entire 24-hour period.

2023 Results

JIM MONAGHAN – I believe last year they raised about, I think they packed enough for 153,000 meals, which is an extraordinary number.

KN – Actually, it’s a little bit higher than that. We packed 182,000 pounds of food, which is just fantastic. The volunteers make a big difference for the food bank. We started this fundraiser and volunteer drive during COVID when volunteering was down. Even to this day, though, it’s a great opportunity to get the word out about the importance of volunteers.

Stretching a dollar

KN – Typically, one dollar that is donated to the food bank equates to three meals. For Pack-a-Thon, we do have a match of up to $24,000. So from 9am on Friday, April 5th through 9am on Saturday, April 6th, if people donate, we can make it $1.00 equals six meals.

2024 Goals

KN – Our goals for 2024 are to exceed what we did last year. Last year, we had 569 volunteers. We packed 814 boxes, which equated to over 182,000 pounds of food packed. This year, our goals are to exceed that from a fundraising perspective, as well as from a volunteer perspective.

Emerging Leaders Board

KN – We’re volunteers. So the Community FoodBank of New Jersey, recognizing the need and the importance for the next generation of volunteers to come in, creating the Emerging Leaders Board as well as the Emerging Leaders Group. So we’re a group of young professionals who are dedicated in decreasing food insecurity in New Jersey.

And we contribute innovative ideas and resources to help facilitate the Community Food Bank of New Jersey’s mission through advocacy, awareness and financial support.

If anyone’s interested in getting involved, they can join us by going on to the website at cfbng.org/emerging-leaders to join.

We already are pretty well staffed for the typical daytime shifts, but we really could use some more help on our late night shifts.

The volunteers will be packing boxes for vulnerable seniors, create Family Packs for weekends when kids miss school meals, and ensure no child goes to bed hungry through our Kids Café program.

Hunger In NJ

This year’s Pack-a-Thon will be from 9 AM on Friday, April 5, 2024 until 9 AM on Saturday, April 6, 2024 at CFBNJ’s Hillside warehouse.

WDHA will be broadcasting live with Terrie Carr, Mike Anthony, and Scotty B.

Visit cfbnj.org/packathon to register for a shift.

Check out WDHA’s 2023 Students Change Hunger partnership with the Community FoodBank of New Jersey.

  • Rebecca Kinney - Making Medicare Less Complicated

    As we get older, there are two things that we find ourselves navigating through – Social Security and Medicare.

    Both of them are pretty confusing, especially Medicare. Rebecca Kinney, the director of the Office of Healthcare Information and Counseling at the Administration for Community Living offers some helpful information.

    Why Medicare is so hard to navigate

    It’s health insurance. And health insurance is really complicated no matter how you’re getting access to that insurance, whether you’re paying for it yourself, getting it through an employer plan, or if you’re someone who’s eligible for Medicare and getting your insurance through Medicare.

    It’s evolved a lot since it was originally established in 1965. It’s important for folks to take time and really sort through what is happening with their Medicare so they can make good, educated decisions on their coverage.

    There are private insurance companies that contract with Medicare to provide coverage. So we’ve got lots of Medicare Advantage plans, also known as Part C, available across the country. And also the Medicare prescription drug coverage is also offered through private insurance companies.

    So all of these companies are sending out information on their plans and what’s available and it can be really overwhelming for folks to understand what they’re looking at, what all this means, and how to make a decision.

    That’s where one of the programs that I oversee comes into play.

    It’s known as the State Health Insurance Assistance Program, also known as the SHIP. And it is a federally funded program that is available free because it is federally funded and it is also unbiased.

    We are not associated with any insurance companies to really provide one-on-one assistance to Medicare and release to sort through all of those different things that they get in the mail and the questions that they might have on Medicare.

    We help them navigate all of that, really understand what choices they have to make and what their options are and will help them get enrolled as well once they make a decision on a particular plan or set of plan coverage.

    We can help them get enrolled in those decisions.

    Medicare obstacles

    The biggest thing is really that confusion and complication that we’ve been talking about. Everyone who is on Medicare is overwhelmed by that in particular.

    Another big thing that we see is, you know, a lot of folks on Medicare, they’re retired, they’re living on a fixed income and they may have really limited income and assets available to help them pay for their health coverage but also their other needs, housing, food, right?

    It can be hard to really figure out how can you pay, how can I afford to pay for all of these different things.

    In our program, we help folks, we screen them for programs that are available to help them pay for their Medicare in particular, those premiums and copays.

    If they look like they might be eligible, we’ll help them get enrolled as well.

    So we’ll go through the process of helping them gather all the documents and getting the information onto the applications needed to access those benefits to help them pay for their Medicare benefits.

    We also can connect them to other programs that might help them pay for those other things like food and housing. If they might be eligible to try to ensure that people are getting the access to all the benefits that they might be eligible for to help them afford their daily needs.

    Recent changes to Medicare

    We have a real expansion of the different private health insurance plans that are available
    to help cover Medicare, those Medicare advantage and Part D plans.

    The number of plans available has really grown, which is an important element for folks to navigate through. But more recently, there have been a few changes that have expanded Medicare coverage and reduced costs for Medicare beneficiaries, no matter their income.

    Some examples of that include the change that happened in 2023 to reduce copay for insulin to $35, whether someone takes insulin through a pump or if they self-administer that insulin, their copay now is only $35 a month per insulin product, which in some cases has made a huge difference for folks.

    Insulin has been very expensive and that reduction, it doesn’t matter what plan you’re enrolled in, your insulin copay should be no more than $35 a month for each product.

    Another change is ensuring that vaccines are available free of charge to Medicare beneficiaries.

    Things like the shingles vaccine and RSV vaccine are now available to Medicare beneficiaries free of charge, trying to ensure that folks get access to those preventative benefits to try to avoid those illnesses that can have extreme negative consequences for folks if they get them.

    There’s also been an expansion for one of the programs that helped pay for Medicare.

    Again, I was talking about this earlier, if somebody has limited income and assets and are really struggling to pay for their prescription drug costs, starting January 4th of this year, the extra help program was expanded.

    Some more people are eligible for that program to help reduce the premium for part D possibly down to zero, depending on the options that are available and really reduce the copays at the pharmacy as well.

    It really makes a big difference for folks who are eligible for those things.

    Protecting yourself from Medicare fraud

    Medicare unfortunately is a pretty big target for fraud schemes and we see a lot of things related to again, tele-health has been because the coverage for that is expanded.

    We see durable medical equipment that things like wheelchairs, braces, insulin products and supplies.

    They are a huge target for fraud as well and so fraudsters also use COVID as a way to try to scam people into giving them their personal information and then they would go and build Medicare for tens of thousands of dollars of things that were never provided and never received and really just pocketing that money.

    It’s a real big problem and so what we try to encourage folks to do is one, be careful. Don’t give out your personal information that includes your Medicare number to anyone you don’t know. Only provide that to your healthcare providers.

    Second thing, pay attention to your explanation of benefits or your Medicare summary notices that come in and show what services have been billed on your behalf and make sure those are things you actually received.

    It’s a good idea to kind of keep track of all of your appointments and who you saw, which dates those types of things. Kind of use a healthcare tracker to kind of keep track of that and compare that to your explanation of benefits.

    If you see something that looks funny or you don’t understand or it seems a little fishy, you can contact our program too and we will help you take a look at that and we work very closely with the Office Inspector General and Medicare.

    When things look like they might have been fraud, we get them into the investigators hands as quickly as possible.

    For WDHA and WMTR listeners here in New Jersey who want more information about the State Health Insurance Assistance Program, please go to shiphelp.org.

  • Brian Reyngoudt - Operation K9 Beethoven

     

    JIM MONAGHAN – Brian Reyngoudt is the co-founder and vice president of Operation K9 Beethoven. Brian, for WDHA and WMTR listeners who are new to this, tell them what your program does.
    BRIAN REYNGOUDT – Operation K9 Beethoven is that we help our veterans one paw at a time like we like to say. We rescue dogs from euthanasia off the streets, kill shelters, we bring them back to health.
    Our goal is to train them to become psychiatric service dogs. And we give them away for free to our veterans at no cost to them. So no money comes out of their pocket. And these dogs get trained to become their psychiatric service animal.

    JM – How do you vet the dogs that you that you come into to make sure that they’re right for this program?

    BR – We work with several trainers who will evaluate them to make sure that their temperament is good. You have to have a calm, cool, collective animal to be trained as a psychiatric service dog so that that dog can go out in public with the veteran, the human being.

    JM – And what kind of a financial investment does that require for each dog?

    BR – Each dog giver take is about $6,000. That is the cost for the training, getting the dog, going through the vet, getting it, you know, it’s shots and whatever it needs, food, transportation. So the veteran, like I said, doesn’t pay no money to us. So from all the sales that we do with our merchandise, as well as donations, that’s how we were able to get that dog to that veteran.

    JM – We have dogs come up to the radio station all the time with Terrie Carr in the Rock N Ruff program and to watch the mood in the building changed no matter how stressful a day may be, Brian, you get a dog or two coming in and it’s just, it’s incredible have a dog or a pet just in general can change the mood of a workplace, a home, any kind of environment.

    BR – Absolutely. I get to see it also all the time. I mean, we also along with our program, we have another program, which is our pet therapy program, where Beethoven and all of his friends, they go to schools, they go to rehabs, they go to veterans homes, they go to hospitals and being able to see when those dogs walk in, the staff, the patients, everybody their faces just light up.

    JM – Tell us about Beethoven.

    BR – Beethoven is a German Shepherd. He’s the real boss, as we like to say, he’s the CEO and he travels all throughout the state of New Jersey along with all of his friends and Parker and Duffy and all of them. And we’re really getting really big with our therapy program. It’s really taken off within the last several months, which is great. I mean, everybody wants us to come.

    JM – I know you have an event coming up in early April on Sunday, 7th. Tell our WDHA and WMTR listeners about that, Brian.

    BR – We’re going to do this thing for the first time. We’re going to have an informative experience speakers who will discuss and answer questions regarding the GI Bill, PTSD, veteran benefits claims, substance abuse, and family support, and the benefits of having a psychiatric service dog.

    We’re also going to have our therapy dog team there where they can come down and hang out with Duffy, Shadow, Luna, Sophie, Blaze, Chase, Zola. And we’re going to be serving and refreshments, light refreshments.

    If your listeners want to take part in it, you can email us at [email protected] or you can shoot us a text for an RSVP because we want to make sure we have enough food for everybody.

    That phone number is 201-587-9338. The place is located in Saddlebrook, New Jersey, VFW Post, 3484, 44 Market Street in Saddlebrook, New Jersey, Jim.

    JM – And what time will that be, Brian?

    BR – That’s going to be starting at 3 PM.

    JM – So that is on Sunday, April 7th. We encourage our WDHA and WMTR listeners to attend if they are at all able for listeners, Brian, who want to make a donation. Maybe they can’t come that day, but they want to make a donation to the Operation K9 Beethoven program. How do they go about doing that?

    They can go right over our website at operationk9beethoven.com and you can smash the donate button. Every little bit helps.

  • Rock N Ruff

     Listen To Jim from Sedona Shepherd talk about Stryker Below! 

    Hi Rock and Ruffers!

    It’s Terrie Carr inviting you to check out WDHA’s Rock N’ Ruff with STRYKER from Sedona Shepherd Sanctuary!

    Stryker is a magnificent “Dutch Shepherd” , a young dog at under 3 years old, incredibly smart and very, very friendly. Stryker is a great representative of “Shepherds”, with a Dutch Shepherd having a high energy level, high working ability and high prey drive (so cats and small animals a no no!) He would make a great family companion, especially for an active busy family, especially one that has Shepherd experience and loves this great breed. Stryker knows basic commands, loves to go on walks and hikes, LOVES balls and toys BUT is also very gentle and also loves to settle down and spend some time with his humans. PERFECT!

    Stryker is also stunning to look at and sooooo soft! He’s a super dog. I fell inmate with his smarts, fun personality and handsome looks for sure!

    Our friends at Sedona Shepherd Sanctuary Sedona Shepherd Sanctuary Website    do an amazing job finding homes for all types of Shepherds. Young, Senior, Special Needs Shepherds included also which is amazing. Here is Stryker’s link too! Stryker’s Link- Friendly, Energetic and Fantastic

    Don’t forget to check out more New Jersey Rock N’ Ruff dogs looking for homes on the WDHA RNR page- WDHA RNR Page, more pet related for on the Roundtable Page- TC’s RNR Roundtable Page, Info on the Canine Stunt Stars Dog Show, Dog Fun For The Family at State Theater, The WDHA Staff Dogs The Staff Dogs Of DHA     

    AND – the search continues for “Meep” – please check out her story and share- The Search For Meep Continues,

    • Special Note- Keep Saturday 6/1 open as we have a very special announcement coming soon!

    Thanks for your support and our Rock N’ ruff initiative – It’s so appreciated and as always – Opt To Adopt!

    Terrie Carr

  • Coach Sheets' Ride In

    Jeremy Sheetinger is the head baseball coach at Georgia Gwinnett College where he led the Grizz Gang to the 2021 NAIA National Championship.

    These quick hits may, on the surface, be geared toward his fellow baseball coaches, but his motivational message can easily be applied to the classroom, workplace, and your personal relationships.

    Today’s message from Coach Sheets can be summed up in just three words – “do your job.”

  • Local Look

    Looking for something fun to do in the area? Chris Swendeman has you covered with this week’s Local Look.

    There are always so many fun events happening in our local communities.  Check out what’s in store for this week in New Jersey.

    • Hop into some great Easter-themed fun going on today.  The first is the annual Easter parade on Jenkinson’s boardwalk in Point Pleasant Beach.  Registration runs from 11.30 AM to 12: 30 PM, and the festivities kick off at 1.
    • You can also stop by Keansburg Amusement Park for a fantastic day of Easter celebrations, including free family photos with the Easter Bunny. Dressed to impress for the chance to win some great prizes. The festivities take place from noon to 5 PM.
    • And this coming Wednesday, April 3rd, the American Legion Nmber 278 and the Nicholas Wihlborg Foundation are teaming up for a blood drive from 3 to 7 PM at Legion Hall in Stanhope.  Appointments are strongly recommended. Learn more at nick8w.org/.

     

    And that’s your Local Look for this week on The Jersey Magazine.  If you’d like your event to be featured on The Local Look, you can email us at [email protected].  See you next week on 105.5 WDHA.

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