In January I announced that as part of their 50th anniversary the Causeway Family of Dealerships was going to “celebrate” in a rather different fashion.

The auto group in Manahawkin launched a year-long “50 Golden Acts of Good” campaign to help their neighbors and positively impact Ocean County.  The centerpiece of this program is the monthly awarding of a $10,000 grant to help a local non-profit and it culminates in December with the awarding of a new Ford Transit Connect Van.

May’s recipient of this charitable endeavor is CONTACT of Ocean & Monmouth Counties, a non-profit organization that provides trained telephone listeners who respond to human needs 24/7.  They offer free confidential crisis intervention, information on available resources and referral to community services.

CONTACT is a 24 hour hotline manned by volunteers who have gone through 40 hours of training and an apprenticeship before answering the phones by themselves.  Those volunteers will answer around 26,000 calls this year and become a listening ear to someone in need.

About a third of those calls will be people looking for assistance with housing, employment, food and the like. Some might be from those who are homeless and need a place to sleep.

However the majority of the calls they receive are from those between the ages of 35-65 who are dealing with depression, mental and physical issues, abuse, and addiction with some even contemplating suicide.  CONTACT is there to listen and respond to the lonely, hurting people of our community with dignity and compassion.

Launched in 1975 in Ocean County the agency has grown tremendously over the years and officially became CONTACT of Ocean & Monmouth Counties in 2008.  They are always seeking those looking for a rewarding opportunity to volunteer and the next Crisis Line Training begins in September.  If you are over the age of 18 and interested you can call them at 732)-240-6104 or visit contactoceanmonmouth.org.

CONTACT joins previous $10,000 grant recipients Ocean Partnership for Children, Interfaith Hospitality Network of Ocean County, Caregiver Volunteers of Central Jersey and Meals on Wheels of Ocean County with the next announcement coming in June.

For 50 years the Causeway Family of Dealerships has been a fixture on Route 72 in Manahawkin and so has been their commitment to the community and this is just the latest example.