2017 Holiday Food Collection in all First Financial Branches

It’s the month of giving thanks, and all First Financial branch locations will be collecting non-perishable food items throughout the remainder of this year.

As we approach the 2017 holiday season, First Financial will be partnering with local non-profit organizations to help families in need within Monmouth and Ocean Counties. Our First Financial branches will serve as collection sites for non-perishable food items that will then be donated to the following non-profit organizations:

Toms River Branch: The People’s Pantry

    • The People’s Pantry is in need of cereal, soup, jelly, canned vegetables, and hygiene products for the 2017 holiday season.

Freehold/Howell Branch: Freehold Open Door Pantry

  • Open Door Pantry is requesting canned vegetable soups, pasta, tomato and pasta sauces, peanut butter and jelly, canned meat, canned tuna fish, canned fruit and fruit juices, rice, powdered milk, cereal, jarred baby food, baby formula, cake mix, pudding, salt, pepper, mustard, ketchup, pancake mix, and syrup.

Neptune Branch: Lunchbreak

  • Lunchbreak is requesting bottled water, juice, iced tea, rice, beans, pasta, oats, paper towels, toilet paper, napkins, diapers, snacks (pretzels, crackers, chips), baby formula, canned goods, soups, nuts, peanut butter and jelly, ketchup, mustard, cereal, granola bars, and boxed cake mix.
  • Lunchbreak is also collecting new or gently used clothing items: business casual attire, casual clothing for any season, plus sized clothing, baby/infant clothes, special occasion items, shoes, jewelry, and handbags. *Food/clothing donations will be accepted at the Neptune Branch through 11/22.

Click on the links above to learn more about what each organization is requesting this year. Your donations can be dropped off at any First Financial branch location during business hours.

Please note that the final day for food collection at the Freehold/Howell and Toms River branches will be on Saturday, December 30, 2017.

 Help brighten someone’s holiday this season and thank you for your continued support!

Things to Do on a Budget in Monmouth & Ocean Counties this November 2017

It’s time to kick off the start of the holiday season and there are so many great things to do with family and friends in the upcoming weeks to celebrate this special time of year! Check out our list of free or inexpensive activities happening this month in a town near you. We hope you have a very Happy Thanksgiving!

November 3-5: Stocking Stuffer Sale, Allaire Village in Farmingdale. From 10am to 3pm Friday and Saturday, and 12pm-3pm Sunday – come get a jump start on your stocking stuffers this year! There will be ornaments, scarves, decorations, and everything in between. For details call 732-919-3500 or click here.

November 5: Open Hearth, Open House at Covenhoven House in Freehold. From 12pm to 4pm on West Main Street, visitors will be transported back in time as costumed interpreters demonstrate how food was prepared in an eighteenth century open hearth kitchen. Featuring a rotating theme and menu, this program offers visitors the opportunity to learn about colonial foods cooked over the open hearth, then sample the results. Afterwards, enjoy a tour of the 1750’s home, illustrating what life was like for the Covenhoven family. This event is free and open to the public. For more information, click here or call 732-462-1466 x11.

November 9: Manasquan Ladies Night Out. From 4-8pm the Manasquan Chamber of Commerce invites you to kick off the holiday shopping season for a night of shopping (and some great food & drink). The walkable downtown district will be alive with holiday decorations, stores open late, great dining opportunities and a chance to take home some great prizes! Get the details at http://www.manasquanchamber.org/ or call 732-223-8303.

November 11: Late Fall Flea Market at Allaire Village in Farmingdale. From 8am-3pm hunt for hidden treasures amid furniture, books, art work, bottles, knick knacks, and so much more! $1 admission supports the Historic Village at Allaire. The village, General Store, and Bakery are open as well.  The rain date is November 12th. For information click here or call 732-919-3500.

November 11 and 12: Food Trucks and Firepits at Laurita Winery in New Egypt. Fireworks will take place on Saturday evening. $8 per person, and kids 12 and under are free. Discounted tickets are available online at www.lauritawinery.com or call 609-758-8000.

November 24: Holiday Express Concert, Parade, Santa Train, and Town Lighting in Red Bank. Take a train ride with Santa from Little Silver to Red Bank at 6:45pm and then see the town holiday lighting at 7pm at Broad and Monmouth Streets. For details, click here or call 732-842-4244.

November 25: Spring Lake Christmas Celebration Kickoff. Enjoy hayrides, music, dancers, and holiday treats. Shops are open until 8pm. Call 732-449-0577 or go to http://www.springlake.org/upcoming-events.

Celebrate the Season Marshmallow Roast in Beach Haven. From 4:30-8:30pm at Beach and Engleside Avenues, participate in a fun marshmallow roast to kickoff the holiday season. There is no entry fee. For details call 609-492-0111 or go to http://www.beachhaven-nj.gov/

November 26: Bradley Beach Tree Lighting. The event takes place at 4pm in downtown Bradley Beach at Riley Park. Santa arrives at 5pm. Find details at http://www.bradleybeachnj.gov/ or call 732-776-2999.

Breakfast with Santa and Mrs. Claus at TGI Friday’s in Manahawkin. From 8am-10:30am kick off the holiday season with the Our Gang Players! Tickets are $10 per person and include pancakes, sausage, bacon and a beverage. Sit on Santa’s lap and have your picture taken, let him know what’s on your list, and get in the holiday spirit. There will also be home baked goodies and holiday treats available. Call 609-389-6033 for tickets or go to https://www.ourgang.org/

November 30: Complimentary Estate Planning Basics Seminar at First Financial in Toms River. It might not be something you want to think about, but estate planning is an important component of planning your retirement and the financial future of your family. Attend this complimentary 6pm session and learn about setting up your will, life insurance, trusts, and gift tax basics. Light refreshments will be served. Register online here, or call 732-312-1500.

Things to Do on a Budget in Monmouth & Ocean Counties this October 2017

It’s officially fall – and October is one of the best and most beautiful weather months in New Jersey. Get the family ready for an action-packed month filled with fun fall and Halloween activities. Check out these free or inexpensive events happening in a town near you!

October 1: Pier Fest, Long Branch. From 12-4pm, this outdoor festival will feature sidewalk sales, vendors, live music, crafters, delicious food and kids’ activities! Festival Plaza at Pier Village, 1 Chelsea Avenue. For details call 732-245-0412 or go to http://www.pierfestnj.com/

October 6, 7, & 8: Italian Street Festival in Seaside Heights. Friday through Sunday, featuring performances from Italy. Friday  4 to 10pm, Saturday 10am to 10pm, Sunday 10am to 8pm. Savor a weekend of Italian specialties, arts and crafts, outstanding entertainment and a parade that is bound to delight young and old alike. 26th Annual Ocean County Columbus Day Parade at 1:00 pm Sunday on the Boulevard. Free admission. Go to http://www.exit82.com/ or call 732-830-3700.

October 7: Fall Craft Market and Art in the Park at Allaire Village (Farmingdale). From 10am-4pm the Historic Village at Allaire showcases local artists as they sell and demonstrate their crafts.  The craft market includes handmade items of all varieties from paintings and photography to pottery, woodworking, textiles, and beyond.  Admission to the craft market is $2 Adults, Children under 12 years old and members are free. For more information call 732-919-3500 or click here.

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow at Allaire Village (Farmingdale). Interactive adaptation of the classic ghost story from 7:30-9pm; advance tickets recommended. The performance takes place at the Allaire Chapel beginning at 7:30pm. Tickets are $20 per person. Click here for information and to purchase your tickets online.

Asbury Park Zombie Walk at 4pm. The Annual Asbury Park Zombie Walk holds the record for the world’s largest gathering of zombies! Enjoy festivities & music taking place through downtown & along the boardwalk, and end your day with a “blood red” fireworks show along the ocean front. Walk starts at Convention Hall to Cookman and Main Asbury Park. Rain or shine event. For more details, click here.

October 8: Belmar Oktoberfest from 11:30am to 5pm. Join the fun for German food, stein hoisting, pumpkin decorating, performers and much more! Main Street (between 8th & 10th Aves.) Call 732-681-3700 ext. 214 or go to http://www.visitbelmarnj.com/

Manasquan Wine and Beer Festival from 12-4pm. Prepare to get busy with your inner wine (or beer) connoisseur. The Chamber is hosting their annual Wine and Beer Festival in downtown Manasquan at Squan Plaza. There will be plenty of great music and food and sample tastings and a keepsake Manasquan wine glass. Admission is $30, or $25 if you pre-order online at http://www.manasquanchamber.org/

October 13 & 14: Annual Waretown Haunted Hayride. 19th Annual Waretown Haunted Hayride sponsored by the Township of Ocean and Waretown Vol. Fire Company. 20 minute tractor ride around the “Haunted” Waretown Lake. Food and beverages will be available for purchase. Adults $10 admission, children $8. Call 609-693-5407 or visit http://www.twpoceannj.gov/

October 14: Classic Car Show in the Atlantic Highlands. From 10am-4pm, come see the annual car show along First Avenue. Rain date is October 15th. Call 732-872-8711 or visit http://www.atlantichighlands.org/

October 15: Thompson Park Day in Lincroft. From 11am to 5pm, take place in a fun filled fall day! “Strutt your mutt” dog costume contest, scarecrow contest, pumpkin painting, wagon rides, food, crafts, and live entertainment. Newman Springs Road, Lincroft. Call 732-842-4000 or go to https://www.monmouthcountyparks.com/

October 20, 21, 27, and 28: Haunted Hay Rides at Allaire Village (Farmingdale). In the dark of the night, the ghosts, ghouls, and monsters fill the haunted village. From woods to historic homes the Historic Village at Allaire takes on a dark twist for the Halloween season. Admission includes: Haunted Hayride, Mr. Allaire’s Home, and the Haunted Village itself.  Enter if you dare! Tickets can be purchased online, for a group rate of 25 or more, call the office at 732-919-3500. Adult tickets are $15, children tickets, ages under 12, are $10. Tickets can be purchased at the door starting at 5:45 pm.

October 21: Bradley Beach Howl-o-Ween Festival and Parade. 12-3pm at Riley Park, free admission and live music. Learn more at http://www.bradleybeachnj.gov/ or call 732-776-2999.

October 21 & 22: Food Trucks and Firepits at Laurita Winery (New Egypt). Food Trucks, Fire Pits and Fireworks (Saturday evening). Visit LauritaWinery.com for more details or call 609-758-8000. Cost $8 per person/ Kids 12 and under FREE. Discounted tickets online.

October 28: Ocean Grove Halloween Parade for children and pets. Begins at noon at Fireman’s Park on Main Avenue. For more details go to http://oceangrovenj.com/ or call 732-774-1391.

Trunk or Treat, Lake Shenandoah Park (Lakewood).  Individuals, businesses and non-profit groups decorate car trunks, vans or pickup beds and hand out treats. If you are interested in collecting treats, just come out in costume. All are welcome. Prizes will be awarded for the best decorated trunk and for the best costumes. Free admission, 7 to 8:30pm. For more details call 732-506-5122 or go to http://www.oceancountyparks.org/

October 29: Annual Point Pleasant Halloween Parade at 1pm. Marching down Bridge Avenue to Point Pleasant’s Community Park since 1980 – this fun filled day has been a tradition among families of all ages. Featuring live bands, 10 + motorized and pull floats, categories for marching, judged costume contest. Trophies awarded at Community Park immediately following the parade. Ice cream for sale, free admission. Call 732-295-8850 or go to http://pointpleasantchamber.com/

Things to Do on a Budget in Monmouth & Ocean Counties this September 2017

Summer is officially winding down and the kids are heading back to school for another year, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of great inexpensive events happening near you. Check out the list of activities that are kicking off the fall season. Enjoy!

September 2 & 3:

Allaire Bacon, Bikes, and Brews (Allaire State Park, Wall). With a beer tent, food trucks with bacon-themed items, craft vendors, live bands, children’s activities, and tours of the historic buildings – this is an event you won’t want to miss!  The event is 11am to 5pm with the ‘last call’ for drinks at 4:45pm on September 2nd and 3rd. Admission is $10 for adults, 18 years old and older.  Kids under 18 are free! Tickets can be purchased in at the door. For details, click here or call 732-919-3500.

Grape Stomping Festival at Laurita Winery (New Egypt). Grape stomping for all! $8 per person and kids 12 and under are free. Call 609-758-8000 or go to www.lauritawinery.com

September 2-4: BBQ and Craft Beer Festival at Monmouth Park Racetrack (Oceanport).  Come celebrate the juiciest, most tender pulled pork, brisket and ribs the Jersey Shore has to offer – plus so much more. There will also be a craft beer garden with over 40 beers to choose from. Gates open at 11:30am and the festival goes until 5:30pm each day. Kids will enjoy FREE Family Fun Day activities from 12-4pm on Saturday and Sunday including clowns, face painters, pony rides and a bounce house. For more information click here, or call 732-222-5100.

September 8-10: Asbury Park Oysterfest.  This 3-day culinary event is one you won’t want to miss! Friday: 5-10 p.m. Saturday: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday:  11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Located at Bradley Park, across from Convention Hall and the Berkeley Oceanfront Hotel.  Admission is $3. For details visit http://www.asburyparkchamber.com/festivals.asp or call 732-775-7676.

September 9: Ocean Grove Fall Flea Market. Over 300 vendors selling new, used and antique items as well as a variety of food offerings. Rain or shine event from 9am-4pm! Ocean Pathway from the Great Auditorium to the boardwalk. http://www.oceangrovenj.com/ or call 732-774-1391.

September 9 &10: Delicious Orchards Apple Festival (Colts Neck). Attendees will enjoy a full antique car display (over 40 cars ranging back to the early 1900’s), fun games, local vendors offering delicious product samplings, farm animals, a clown, live music, and of course plenty of apple options including more than a dozen varieties: Delicious Orchards’ famous apple cider, seasonal apple ice cream, apple flavored cotton candy and made on site apple fritters. Click here or call 732-462-1989.

September 16:

Late Summer Flea Market at Allaire Village (Wall). Hunt for hidden treasures amid furniture, books, art work, bottles, knickknacks, and so much more! The event runs from 8-3pm. $1 admission for adults, children and members of the Historic Village at Allaire are free. Learn more here or call 732-919-3500.

40th Annual Festival of the Sea (Point Pleasant Beach). Visitors sample dishes by the area’s finest restaurants, from clam chowder to lobster, to steak, even desserts! Arts and crafts, pony rides, and hundreds of vendors. Kiddie games, live entertainment and more. Voted Best Seafood Festival in Ocean County by the Asbury Park Press Readers Year after Year! Free shuttles provided, rain date September 17th. Festival runs from 10 am to 7 pm on Arnold and Bay Avenues. Learn more at www.pointchamber.com or call 732-899-2424.

September 16 &17:

The Feast of San Gennaro at the Jersey Shore (Belmar). From 11am-6pm enjoy games, a beer & wine garden, and kids’ activities on Main Street between 10th and 13th Avenues. There will also be a cannoli eating contest on Saturday and a pasta eating contest on Sunday. There will also be live entertainment all weekend. Learn more here or call 732-681-3700 ext. 214.

Food Trucks and Firepits at Laurita Winery (New Egypt). Fireworks Saturday evening! $8 per person and kids 12 and under are free. Call 609-758-8000 or go to www.lauritawinery.com

September 23: Ocean Township’s Fall Fest at Joe Palaia Park (Whalepond and Deal Road). The event takes place from 10am-4pm. http://www.oceantwp.org/ or call 732-531-5000 ext. 5401.

September 24: Red Bank Oyster Festival. Join a celebration filled with food, wine, live music, beer & more! Don’t miss this fun event located in the White Street Parking lot from noon to 7pm. http://www.redbank.org/ or call 732-842-4244.

September 30:

Fall Harvest Festival at Allaire State Park (Wall). Come celebrate the harvest, bring your sweetheart and try your hand at cider pressing, games, dancing, and much more! Adults are $5, children ages 5-12 years old are $3. (Children under 5 are free).  Wagon rides additional cost $7 adults, $5 children. Tickets can be purchased at the door. The festival takes place from 11am-4pm. Click here or call 732-919-3500.

Spring Lake Italian Festival and Art Walk. The event takes place from noon to 6pm at Third and Morris Avenues. There will be an Italian specialty food court, wine & beer garden, live music, face painting, art and more. http://springlake.org/italianfestival or call 732-449-0577.

Food Truck Wind Up and Craft Beer Fest (First Energy Park, Lakewood). The event takes place from noon to 5pm. Take your family and your friends out to the ballpark at the Lakewood BlueClaws Stadium for this fun-filled day of food trucks, craft beer, bands, vendors and crafters. Admission is free; $5 parking per car. Call 732-316-0222 or visit www.irunnewjersey.com

 

Local Alert: Skimming Device Found on Point Pleasant NJ Rite Aid ATM

A skimming device was found on a local ATM in Point Pleasant, New Jersey at Bridge Avenue Rite Aid on July 24th. However, it is suspected that the device was placed around July 17th.  If you used this ATM – you should monitor your bank statements and change your card PIN numbers. Anyone who discovers any unauthorized activity on their account should contact the Point Pleasant Police Department to file a report. If you are a First Financial member and used one of your First Financial cards at this ATM, please call Member Services at 732-312-1500.

To read the full article from Patch, click here.

Please be careful of such devices and be sure to protect yourself and your bank account by using the following steps:

  • Use secure ATM machines under video surveillance or inside of a bank lobby. They’re less likely to be tampered with!
  • Pay careful attention to what the card reader and keypad normally looks like on the ATMs you use most frequently.
  • Don’t use an ATM if the card reader appears to be added on, fits poorly, or is loose.Some thieves place a fake box over the card slot that reads and records account and PIN numbers.
  • Call the customer service number on the ATM immediately if a machine appears suspiciousor if it does not function properly.

Don’t become a fraud victim!

Things to Do on a Budget in Monmouth and Ocean Counties this March 2017

Happy St Patricks Day leprechaun hat gold chocolate coins on white table.

March is filled with fun and festive holidays – St. Patrick’s Day and the start of Spring. So let’s spring into March with a little bit of luck and have some fun with family and friends! Check out the list below of local  free or inexpensive activities to do with your loved ones all month long.

St. Patrick’s Day Parades:

March 11 & 12: Chocolate Lovers’ Weekend in Ocean Grove! Starts at 10am Saturday (Chamber Office – 45 Pilgrim Pathway) with the hunt for hearts, there is a tour of the inn’s at 11am, and special chocolate lovers’ dinners at participating restaurants. Sunday includes a winter walk starting at 12pm. For more information, click here or call 732.774.1391.

March 12: Belmar Restaurant Tour from 12pm-4:30pm in Downtown Belmar. Sample the fine cuisine of local Belmar restaurants. (Check website for participating restaurants or call 732.681.3700 x214).

March 14 & 15: Flavor of Freehold Restaurant Tour from 5:30-8pm on Main Street in Downtown Freehold. For more information visit http://www.downtownfreehold.com/ or call 732.333.0094.

March 18 & 19: St. Patty’s Celebration at Laurita Winery (New Egypt). Irish food, Irish music, Irish dancers and Irish vendors – it doesn’t get any better than being Irish at Laurita Winery! Come celebrate wonderful Irish heritage! Check out LauritaWinery.com for more information or call 609.758.8000.

March 26: Red Bank Wedding Walk – 10am to 4pm at 146 Bodman Place in Red Bank. Getting married or know someone who is? This event is a one day, free event to showcase Red Bank as a one-stop shopping destination for brides, grooms, their bridal parties and families. For more details click here or call 732.842.4244.

March 27: The Harlem Globetrotters at Pine Belt Arena (Toms River) 7pm. The Harlem Globetrotters are an exhibition basketball team that combines athleticism, theater, and comedy. Over the years they have played more than 26,000 exhibition games in 122 countries and territories. Tickets start at $25, for more information call 732.818.8536 or visit www.pinebeltarena.com

March 31: Disney’s The Lion King Musical at The Strand Theater in Lakewood, 7:30pm. Disney’s The Lion King has captivated the imagination of audiences around the world. The African savannah comes to life on stage with Simba, Rafiki and a crazy cast of characters as they journey from Pride Rock to the jungle and back again, in this inspiring, coming-of-age tale. Kids 12 and under are $12, $15 all others. To purchase tickets visit www.bcct.org.