Without question Long Beach Island is one of the most popular summer destinations in New Jersey for those from all over the state, Pennsylvania, New York, Connecticut and other places as well.  Sources claim the six municipalities that make up the 18-mile stretch along the Atlantic Ocean go from a year-round population of 10,000 to somewhere around 100,000 in the peak summer months of June, July and August.

LBI is home to many well-known attractions like the Barnegat Lighthouse, Fantasy Island Amusement Park, Thundering Surf Waterpark and Bay Village.  It’s also home to Compassion Café which has recently opened in Beach Haven and is described as “an extraordinary special non-profit” that was established to provide meaningful employment and job training for adolescents and adults with disabilities.

The café is open Monday-Thursday from 7-11am and actually is inside “Barry’s Do Me A Flavor” which has been around for many years and generously allows the breakfast spot to operate during a time they are not open and does so rent free. The sale of coffee, muffins and bagels along with the tips they receive helps pay the 50 or so employees who work a couple of shifts each week.  The rest comes from donations which fortunately come in from all sources…large and small.

The Compassion Café is a registered 501 © (3) non-profit that was co-founded by Sue Sharkey and her niece Erin Sharkey to provide opportunities for special needs persons who have aged out of school based or other programs.  The list of those who have helped includes Barry and Nicole Baxter of “Barry’s Do Me A Flavor,” The Beach Haven Terrace Church and many others.  So if you’re visiting Beach Haven on a Monday thru Thursday morning stop in for coffee and a muffin on Centre Street and leave a nice tip.

Co-founder Erin Sharkey and team member Frank

For more information visit www.compassioncafelbi.org or check them out on Facebook.


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