Who would have thought that March of 2020 would be the start of such changes in our industry?

From the way we care for our residents, clients, and patients to the way we do business with one another, everything came to a screeching halt back in March when they were recommending “no handshakes.”

Our Executive Board thought it best that we hold off on meetings for just a bit. Looking back, I believe we made the right decision! No one could have predicted what was ahead for our industry after that. Some of our members lost their jobs, and others were furloughed, but we all learned quickly how to use Zoom and other platforms, getting creative in our positions. 

We shifted our focus from networking meetings and education for our professionals, seniors, and caregivers to supporting our members and sponsors in their fight against Covid.

We are proud to announce we donated over 3,000 masks to those who needed them. We rallied together seamstresses in our counties, and we partnered with the Princeton Chinese Community who donated 1500 disposable masks to CCNJ.

We distributed the latest information and held State of the Industry calls to educate our members on resources that were available to them not only professionally but personally. We shared where to purchase PPE and where clients could purchase groceries from those stores with senior-only hours.

Then, we asked our members to help volunteer. They stepped up to pick up groceries and prescriptions for seniors in their community. 

When the vaccine was available, we shared the latest information with our members and even stepped up as Vaccine Volunteers, otherwise known as Vaccine Warriors, to help the seniors in our community get appointments and find transportation. 

With all the challenges we faced in 2020, it was impossible to provide our members and sponsors with the traditional benefits we have in the past. That is why in October of 2020, we decided to waive dues for sponsorships and memberships for 2021. 

2021 marks 10 years since the inception of Caring Connection of New Jersey. It also marks the rise of an industry that faced challenges they never thought imaginable.

An industry made up of individuals whose compassion is greater than any national pandemic.

An industry that banded together to not only help their own residents, clients, and patients, but who helped one another mourn and grieve the losses of so many seniors in our community as well as family and friends they lost to COVID-19.

An industry that transformed practically overnight, learning how to conduct business from behind a computer screen, socially distanced in the safety of their offices and their homes.

An industry that had to figure out how to balance their children and family’s needs as well as the needs as the seniors they serve.

I could not be prouder to be a part of this industry. It is an honor to know and work with each one of our members and sponsors.  

Although we temporarily shifted our original mission to support those in need during the COVID crisis, we do feel like we acted in the best interest of our members and sponsors during that time and we are happy to announce there is another shift happening. With most of our folks being vaccinated, that opens up opportunities for the near future.

Live meetings will return in July. Instead of one per week prior to covid in our respective 6 counties, we will be combining our meetings. 

Monmouth, Ocean, and Middlesex will be on the first Thursday of the month and Burlington, Somerset, and Mercer will be on the third Thursday of the month.

It will be a while before we can get to the place where facilities can sponsor meetings in house, but we are opening up to our sponsors the opportunity to sponsor the upcoming meetings, rotating counties each month within each area. Stay tuned for opportunities to sign up for an upcoming meeting sponsorship!

We would like to thank everyone for your continued support through these crazy times. We are ever grateful not only to our sponsors and members who have been with throughout the years, but also for our new sponsors and members within the last 15 months.

We would not be here today if it were not for all of you to celebrate our 10th year serving our community, our seniors, our family caregivers, and one another. 

Here’s to many more!

Sheli Monacchio,
President of Caring Connections of New Jersey

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