LONG BEACH ISLAND, NJ — At the start of our current health crisis, taxpayer associations from municipalities across Long Beach Island quickly banded together and established a Joint Council of Taxpayers Associations (JCTA) focused initiative to help out in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The COVID-19 initiative is spearheaded by Kathleen Ries, a busy LBI Realtor and also the vice president of Harvey Cedars Taxpayers Association (HCTA). 

It is a unique two-fold operation with a focus is on supporting local businesses and local families. 

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The Southern Ocean Medical Center portion of the program was established with key intentions to first provide business revenue in support of island restaurants and second, to provide meals to the healthcare heroes at SOMC. 

“As those two intentions merge,” Ries continues “we’re working exclusively with island restaurants and the Command Center at the hospital to send needed meals to SOMC. It’s gratifying to see more and more restaurants stepping up to join the effort every day. JCTA will continue to provide island meals to front line healthcare workers and continue to field calls from more restaurants as long as the need -- and the funds -- are there.”

The St. Francis Food Pantry portion of our effort was established to help ease the food burden, not only for our local families but also for our island’s only food pantry, an integral part of St. Francis Center’s Family Support Services program. 

According to Ries, $1,250 in grocery gift cards have been delivered to St. Francis and that number is on track to increase into the thousands moving forward. 

The JCTA donation to St. Francis is provided in the form of $25 gift cards to area grocers designated by St. Francis.

Ries will remain at the helm of this dedicated multi-part operation. 

“We have obtained many donations in a just a few weeks and I’m happy to learn each day of more on the way. Through comprehensive planned communications to both taxpayer association leadership and their individual members, we are truly fortunate that associations as well as many individuals have contributed to our efforts,” Ries said.

Contributions can be made to this island-wide effort via check, payable to HCTA, mailed to PO Box 3065, Harvey Cedars, NJ  08008 or via Zelle using the email address harveycedarstax@gmail.com

The same email can be used for island businesses to reach out regarding participation. 

For further questions please email: Kathleen Ries at kathleenries@gmail.com.