County connects veterans, seniors to services during pandemic

Newton. Lorraine Hentz, Division of Senior Services Director, called the assistance the county provides a “new way of doing business.”

27 Jul 2020 | 03:46

Sussex County is helping veterans and seniors through the pandemic, when many of the activities they regularly enjoyed in the past have been temporarily suspended.

“We have wanted to ensure continued outreach to both veterans and seniors and make sure we are continuing with this,” said Sussex County Freeholder Herbert Yardley.

Yardley said he stays in contact with the Sussex County Division of Senior Services, which also works with the county’s veterans.

Lorraine Hentz, Division of Senior Services Director, called the assistance the county continues to provide a “new way of doing business.” The county provides critical services such as Meals on Wheels and grab-and-go meals for qualified residents ages 60 and up at congregate nutrition centers in Hopatcong and Vernon. During the pandemic and in the warmer weather, some municipalities, such as Hopatcong, have been able to provide safe, socially distant Bingo and exercise classes for seniors outdoors, she said.

Seniors can access the “Sussex County Senior Times” newsletter and other information from the county’s website at sussex.nj.us, by following the drop down menu at the top of the page at “Departments,” then to “Health and Human Services,” and then “Division of Senior Services – ADRC.”

Seniors and veterans may also email the division at SussexSeniorServices@sussex.nj.us.

Yardley said efforts to reach veterans have been facilitated with Catholic Charities, a group he called a “benefit to the county.”

David Pearson, Assistant Director of Veterans Services for Catholic Charities, said the organization’s partnerships with stakeholders, including the Sussex County, were “phenomenal.” Sussex County has offered annual picnics and parades among the usual pre-pandemic activities. Catholic Charities, which serves veterans and their families in seven counties, can help to connect veterans battling the potential of eviction with Supportive Services for Veterans Families grants to help with rent shortfalls, assistance with navigating the VA, gift cards to purchase food items at local supermarkets, and other assistance.

“The county has really done nice things for veterans,” he said.

Seniors and veterans who need help may call the Division of Senior Services at 973-579-0555.