Social Distancing on a Budget this April 2020

It’s April, and while many of our usual monthly activities in Monmouth & Ocean Counties have been cancelled due to the public health crisis, there are still some grab n’ go and virtual wellness happenings you can participate in while also maintaining social distancing. Here are some fun things you can still enjoy with your family this month. We hope you are staying safe and healthy!

Grab & Go At Home Kits

  • Julio’s Pizza Company (Atlantic Highlands) has a pizza kit ready for pick-up, complete with a ball of dough, tomato sauce, a pound of cheese, and cooking instructions – all for just $8. Learn more at https://www.heyitsjulios.com/ or call 848-300-2674 to place your order.
  • Beacon 70 (Brick) has a DIY at home pizza kit for the whole family for just $12! The kit includes dough, sauce, mozzarella cheese, an additional topping of your choice, and grated parmesan cheese. Call to order at 848-232-4235 and you can pick-up curbside or have the kit delivered. Find out more on their website at https://beacon70.com/
  • Jersey Freeze (Freehold) has a make your own ice cream sundae kit for pick-up, only $20! You’ll get two quarts of homemade soft serve ice cream, chocolate syrup, sprinkles, cherries, and your choice of a candy topping. Call 732-462-3008 to order and pick-up curbside 45 minutes later! For more information visit http://jerseyfreeze1952.com/
  • Sugarush (Red Bank) call 732-414-9044 to order and then pick-up an at home cupcake decorating kit for $25 or cookie decorating kit for $20! The cookie kit includes 6 sugar cookies, 2 royal icing colors, and sprinkles. The cupcake kit includes 6 cupcakes, 3 icing colors, sprinkles, and toppings. There are three themes available to choose for cupcakes: mermaid, unicorn, or lego. Find out more at experiencesugarush.com
  • Jersey Cookie Girl (Jackson) is offering cookie decorating kits for $35. The kit includes 12 sugar cookies, 3 piping bags of royal icing, and 3 colors of sparkle sugar. Cookie themes are Happy Birthday, unicorn princess, or puppies. Place your order at 732-213-0590, and curbside pick-up is available or free delivery if you are 10 miles or less from the store. Learn more at https://www.jerseycookiegirl.com/
  • Color Me Mine (Freehold) is shipping paint your own ceramic to-go kits. Simply choose the ceramic(s) you would like to paint, pick your paint colors, and check out online. The kits include instructions and a set of brushes for you to keep. For more information and to place your online order visit https://color-me-mine-freehold.myshopify.com/

Online Activities

  • Lunch Doodles: Online lunch doodles for kids will take place daily, and are free! New episodes will be posted every weekday at 1:00pm EST. Kids will learn to draw, doodle and explore new ways of writing. Grab your pencils, crayons and your imagination! Find out more information and join in on the fun here.
  • Snapology of Monmouth County: The usual STEAM classes are going virtual! For $10 register your child for one of these upcoming online classes: https://embed.snapology.com/licensee/50/events/calendar/2020/04/
  • Virtual Disney Rides: While the Disney parks are closed, you can still experience the wonders of Disney right at home. Thanks to some amazing Disney fans, your family can hop on a variety of Disney rides through YouTube. Get started here.
  • Google Arts & Culture: Check out virtual tours of museums, parks, and natural icons like the largest temple complex on Earth, Yellowstone National Park, and much more. Get started at https://artsandculture.google.com/

Virtual Wellness

  • Prime Cycle: Free gym classes are being offered for students during lunch on Instagram Live. A session for kids ages 6-10 years old runs from noon-12:30pm, kids 11 and up runs from 12:30pm -1pm. For more information visit https://www.instagram.com/p/B99GpRNndU6/
  • Planet Fitness: Hosting free live-stream fitness classes daily at 7pm. Join them on their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/planetfitness/
  • Mindfulness Lessons: Mindful Schools is a non-profit organization which will be offering mindful classes online for kids at 1pm EST on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. Kids will get to join in on mindful activities, movement, and read-a-longs. Join in here.

At Home Activities for Kids

  • Scavenger Hunt: If your kids are bouncing off the walls from being cooped up at home right now, get them to let off some steam with a good old-fashioned scavenger hunt. Set up hints around the house and have them race from clue to clue searching for the treasure you’ve hidden for them. If your kids are too young to read, this can work with picture clues as well. The “treasure” can be a special treat you have in the house, a new game or art supply you’ve been saving, or an item you know they’ll love. Get creative!
  • Balloon Ping-Pong: No need for a bulky ping-pong table! Just tape large popsicle sticks to the backs of paper plates, blow up a balloon, and have your preschoolers play ping-pong with their makeshift paddles over your empty kitchen table.
  • Scrapbook: Spend some quality time reliving precious memories by digging out scrapbooking supplies and old photos to create a timeless masterpiece together.
  • Teach a Household Skill: Enlist your child’s help! Even very small children can help sort laundry, load the washing machine, and press the buttons to turn it on (with your supervision, of course). Have the older ones help you bake, letting them put their math skills to use by adding fractions in recipes. And, of course everyone cleans up their own messes when the day is done!

Important Update on First Financial’s Response to COVID-19 in Our Area

March 19, 2020

Effective beginning Monday, March 23, 2020 all First Financial branches in Freehold/Howell, Neptune, and Toms River will be operating using Drive Thru and ATM services only during our regular business hours. All branch lobbies will be closed to walk-in visitors until further notice.

Please know this decision did not come lightly. Our senior management team has weighed each and every scenario, and ultimately made the decision that practicing our New Jersey governor’s recommendation of social distancing and limiting face-to-face contact is in the best interest of our staff, membership, and the local community.

We will still do everything we can to meet your banking needs during this difficult time. Our Member Relationship Phone Center will be available to take your calls during regular business hours of Monday-Friday 8am to 6pm, and Saturday 9am to 12:30pm.

We will continue to schedule in-branch visits for loan closings, account openings, and the Investment & Retirement Center by appointment only during regular business hours. Please call us at 732.312.1500 to schedule an appointment at your nearest branch.

As always, you can access your First Financial accounts through the electronic banking services we have available:

Despite this inconvenience, we continue to remain committed to serving you and your family with as little service disruption to your banking experience as possible.

Should you have any questions or concerns during this unprecedented time, please contact our Member Relationship Phone Center at 732.312.1500.

Thank you for your understanding and be well,

 

 

 

 

Issa Stephan
President/CEO
First Financial Federal Credit Union
732.312.1500 – Local Callers
866.750.0100 – Out of Area
www.firstffcu.com

First Financial’s Response to COVID-19

March 15, 2020

Over the past few weeks, it is clear that the world and our nation are facing an unprecedented challenge as we learn how to navigate the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in New Jersey.

Like you, we are deeply concerned and want to do all we can to help keep our members, employees, and the local community safe. We are continuing to monitor the situation as it evolves, and we will notify our members should anything change regarding any of our locations.

Rest assured that all First Financial locations are actively following U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines to maintain a healthy and safe environment.

At this time we would like to remind you to please follow the CDC’s preparation advice, and that First Financial has a number of electronic banking services available to our members that you may wish to utilize at this time:

Remote Deposit Capture (Deposit checks on your mobile phone)
Mobile Banking App
Online Banking and Bill Pay
Electronic loan closings
• Online loan applications available 24/7 on the left side of our homepage under Apply for a Loan
• Drive thru service/ATMs at all branch locations
Co-Op surcharge free ATM network with access to over 30,000 ATMs nationwide

The spread of COVID-19 has all of our attention, and First Financial is doing everything possible to keep our employees and you – our valued members, safe while continuing to deliver the best member experience we can.

Despite the inconvenience posed by COVID-19, we remain committed to serving you and your family with as little service disruption to your banking as possible. Our membership is part of our family, and we will get through this together.

Should you have any questions or concerns about banking during this time, please contact our Member Relationship Phone Center at 732.312.1500 Monday-Friday 8am to 6pm, and Saturday 9am-12:30pm.

Thank you for your understanding during this time and be well,

Issa Stephan
President/CEO
First Financial Federal Credit Union
732.312.1500 – Local Callers
866.750.0100 – Out of Area
www.firstffcu.com

Things to Do on a Budget in Monmouth & Ocean Counties this January 2020

Happy 2020! We’re ready to kick off the new year with some wallet-friendly activities for your family and friends. So, break out that new calendar and pencil in these dates for some free or inexpensive events happening in a town near you this month.

January 1: New Year’s Day Beach Walk at Island Beach State Park (Seaside Park) at Swimming Area 1, begins at 2pm. Ring in the new year for a scenic 1.5 mile walk down the beach. Learn about nature that is still present at the beach even in the winter. This event is free to attend, don’t miss the beauty of a winter beach walk to kick off 2020! Learn more and register to attend online at https://www.friendsofibsp.org/events/

January 1 – 5: A Vintage Holiday Display at the Vintage Automobile Museum of NJ on Bay Avenue (Pt. Pleasant Borough). The event takes place from noon to 4pm each day except for Saturday, which is 10am to 4pm. If you are a car buff, you won’t want to miss the vintage cars on display, plus a train, vintage auto servicing equipment, model cars, kids’ toys, period antiques and holiday decorations. Admission is free, but donations are appreciated. Find out more by calling 732-899-0012 or go to https://vintageautomuseum.org/

January 4: The Roving Naturalist at Turkey Swamp Park (Freehold) from 9am-11am. Join in on a winter leisurely walk in Turkey Swamp Park. You’ll search for seasonal points of interest, wildlife, and identify some birds. Dress for the weather and meet in the main parking lot. This event is free to attend. Learn more here.

January 11: Polar Bear Plunge (Union Beach) from 10am-1pm. Union Beach Recreation has organized a fundraiser to brave the chilly water to benefit Jason’s Dream for Kids. There will be an after party at American Legion 321 following the plunge. Find out more here.

January 12: Seven Presidents Oceanfront Park Seashore Open House (Long Branch) from 1-4pm. Even though it’s winter, the Seven Presidents’ activity center will be holding an open house of seashore fun and light refreshments. There will be hands on activities, education, aquatic animals on display, and you’ll get to create a beach keepsake to take home. For more details call 732-872-2670 or click here. This event is free to attend.

January 18: Winter Beach Blast at the Ocean County Mall (Toms River) from 1 to 2:30pm. Stop by center court for some summer like free fun, featuring games, temporary tattoos, and crafts. Learn more by calling 732-506-9090 x5951 or go to http://ocparks.co.ocean.nj.us/

January 24-26: Jersey Shore Home Show at Brookdale Community College (Lincroft) from 11am to 8pm on Friday, 10am to 8pm on Saturday, and 10am to 6pm on Sunday. If you are looking to make home improvements this year, this is the place to be! There will be a wide selection of home improvement professionals, tons of ideas, and endless possibilities. You can register to attend in advance for free, otherwise admission is $10 at the door. Find out more here.

January 26: Chocolate, Wine and More at iPlay America (Freehold) from 12-4pm. Enjoy the sweeter side of life by indulging in chocolate, wine, and making your Sunday afternoon a little sweeter! Tickets include 4 wine samples (adults only, age 21+), and additional drinks may be purchased at the bar at the event. Adult tickets purchased in advance are $10 each or $15 at the door. Kids ages 13-20 are $5 each, and under age 12 are free. There will be plenty of vendors including Frutta Bowls and The Cocoa Exchange, plus more. Get more information here.

We hope you have a happy and healthy new year!

Things to Do on a Budget in Monmouth & Ocean Counties this December 2019

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!  With so many joyful and festive events happening this month, it’s definitely going to be hard to choose which ones to attend. Enjoy this special time of year with your family and friends – check out the many free or inexpensive activities happening this December in a town near you.  Happy Holidays from all of us at First Financial, and wishing you a prosperous 2020!

December 1:

Asbury Park Holiday Bazaar at Convention Hall from 11am-6pm. There will be handcrafted and vintage goods, photos with Santa, live holiday music, food, a fireplace lounge and hot drinks bar, 30 foot Christmas tree, kids art and holiday workshops, and a photo booth. Don’t miss this fun holiday event for the whole family! Learn more here.

Long Branch Tree Lighting in Pier Village from 4-6pm. The Pier Village ice skating rink will be open, there will be mini train rides, a meet & greet with Santa, a live band, characters in costume, dancers, carousel rides, and more. Find out more information here.

Bradley Beach Tree Lighting from 4-7pm at Riley Park (615 Main Street). There will be live music, dancers, carriage rides around the park, and free hot chocolate and cookies. Plus, Santa will be arriving to help light the tree by firetruck! Attendees are asked to donate a pair of new socks to benefit the Jersey Shore Rescue Mission in Asbury Park. See more details here.

December 6: Spring Lake’s Christmas Train Village at Duggan Hall (313 Washington Avenue). Open seven days a week from 12pm-5pm until January 6, 2020. Come check out this spectacular holiday display with numerous running trains, animated attractions and much more. The display is free of charge to visit, but donations will be accepted from those who wish to do so. Donations will be given to the Common Ground Grief Center. Learn more here.

December 7:

Free Santa Photos at all First Financial Locations (Toms River, Neptune, Howell/Freehold). Sit with Santa from 10am-1pm! Each participating child will receive a free 4×6 photo in the mail, as well as the original image file will be sent to each parent/guardian. Register at your nearest branch here, or call 732-312-1500.

Santa Ferry Ride leaves from the NY Waterway Belford Terminal in Middletown from 8:30am-2:30pm. This fun yuletide ride will feature Santa and friends, Christmas carols, goodie bags, and a beautiful scenic view of the Statue of Liberty. Tickets must be purchased in advance, and are $17 for residents and $21 for non-residents. Kids under 1 are $5. Learn more here.

Horse Drawn Carriage Rides through Historic Allentown from 12pm-3pm at Pete Sensi Park. Come see Allentown decked out for the holidays by carriage ride, while also listening to historic tales. Tickets purchased the day of are $15 per person at Borough Hall, however advanced registration is recommended due to popularity of this event. Refreshments will also be available for purchase at Pete Sensi Park or enjoy any of Allentown’s historic restaurants after your 20 minute carriage ride. Find out more here.

Holiday Festival at Casino Pier (Seaside Heights) from 1pm-3pm. Entry fee is a new or gently used coat for a local coat drive and a non-expired canned good. Come dressed in your holiday best (or wear your favorite ugly Christmas sweater)! There will be prizes, holiday crafts, games, and a visit from Santa. See more information here.

December 8:

Breakfast with Santa at iPlay America (Freehold) from 9:30am-1pm.  Enjoy a delicious breakfast while Santa walks around, along with live holiday performances where the whole family can sing and dance along. There will also be an opportunity for photos with Santa, and decorating of Christmas cookies and reindeer treats to prepare for Christmas Eve! Learn more and register here.

Winter on Broad Street (Red Bank) from 11am-5pm. There will be lots of fun on the streets of Red Bank including ice skating, a life sized snow globe, a scavenger hunt, food,  a holiday bazaar and plenty of holiday spirit! Learn more about the event here.

December 13: Free Movie Friday at the Paramount Theater in Asbury Park from 7pm-10pm. Come see the classic holiday movie A Christmas Story at the Paramount Theater with the whole family, for free!  See more details here.

December 14: Winter Solstice Celebration at Cattus Island County Park’s Cooper Environmental Center (Toms River) from 11am-3pm. There will be games, crafts, live animals, horse drawn carriage rides, campfire storytime, food, a candy cane nature walk, and a visit from Santa! The event is free to attend. Learn more here.

December 15: Christmas in Manasquan from 12:30pm-3pm at 126 Main Street. Don’t miss the town’s annual tree lighting, plus there will be hayrides, ice sculpting, giveaways, and lots of holiday cheer! Find out more here.

December 20: Free Movie Friday at the Paramount Theater in Asbury Park from 7pm-9pm. Come see another classic holiday movie It’s a Wonderful Life at the Paramount Theater with the whole family, for free!  See more details here.

December 21: Free Classic Horse & Wagon Rides in Red Bank from 1pm-5pm (11 Bridge Ave or 26 Broad St). Take a free horse and carriage ride through beautifully decorated Red Bank for the holiday season! This is the last day of the event, you won’t want to miss it. Find out additional information here.

December 23: Downtown Freehold’s Annual Menorah Lighting at 5:30pm (10 East Main Street). Be sure to check out Freehold’s annual Menorah lighting to kick off Hanukkah this year! Find out more here, along with other Freehold holiday events throughout the month of December.

December 28 & 29: Springsteen Historical Exhibit in his hometown of Freehold (70 Court St) at 11am. This unique exhibit at the Monmouth County Historical Association will feature 150 items about Springsteen including his personal scrapbooks, yearbook photos, his original recorder, music, and more. General admission tickets are $15 per person, and Freehold Borough resident tickets are free of charge. Learn more here and reserve tickets online.

Happy Holidays!

Things to Do on a Budget in Monmouth & Ocean Counties this November 2019

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 1: Jersey Shore Ghost Tour (Red Bank). Don’t miss the last night of this lantern-lit walking ghost tour through historic Red Bank! Tickets are $12 for adults and $10 for children under 12. Ticket sales begin at 8pm and the tour will leave at 8:30pm from Dublin House at 30 Monmouth Street. Learn more and book online here.

November 1 – 3: Stocking Stuffer Craft Show at Allaire Village (Wall). Starting at 10am on both Friday & Saturday and noon on Sunday until 3pm each of the three days, this once a year event features handcrafted items that are perfect for holiday season gifts! You’ll find ornaments, scarves, decorations, a handmade quilt raffle, and more. Get more information here.

November 2:

Fall Fest and Chili Contest at Old Glory (Keyport) from 1-7pm.  Besides the chili making contest, there will also be a DJ, petting zoo, a pumpkin throwing contest, live music, bull riding and more! Find out more details here. You won’t want to miss this fun event for the whole family!

Awesome Autumn Fun at Jakes Branch County Park (Beachwood) from 1-4pm. Take a hayride through nature trails, participate in fall-themed games, get your face painted, there will be a petting zoo, hot apple cider, costumed characters, and more.  Free to attend!  Learn more here.

November 9:

Late Fall Flea Market at Allaire Village (Wall). Hunt for bargains among vintage treasures, books, art work, handmade items, knick knacks and so much more! The event runs from 8am – 3pm and is $2 per person to attend. The Historic Village, Pilsen Gourmet Food Truck, General Store, and Bakery will be open as well. Learn more here.

Fall Craft Show at the Ft. Monmouth Recreation Area (Tinton Falls) from 9am-2pm. Shop for special gifts from over 50 unique craft vendors just in time for the holiday season! You’ll find holiday ornaments and decorations, jewelry, candles, soaps, paintings, baskets, embroidered items and more. Free admission and parking. Learn more by clicking this link.

November 16: Thanks4Giving Turkey Dash 5K and Splash from 10:30am to 3pm at Convention Hall (Asbury Park).  Participate in either the 5K race, cold turkey plunge, or both! The 5K dash goes from Asbury Park to Ocean Grove and Bradley Beach. Cost for the 5K is $35 and the turkey splash is $25 paid in advance (you can also register a team).  All proceeds will go to the Special Olympics of NJ. Register or donate here.

November 17: Annual Granny’s Attic Craft Show (Thompson Middle School, Middletown) from 9am to 4pm. Don’t miss more than 250 craft vendors – perfect for holiday shopping! There will also be food trucks from 11am to 6pm. Admission is $5 per adult, kids ages 3-14 are $2, and under 3 are free. There will be shuttle busses running continuously from Middletown Train Station to Thompson Middle School. There will also be hourly 50/50 raffles and a grand prize raffle at the end of the event. Find out more here.

November 22: Pizza and Penguins at Jenkinson’s Aquarium (Pt. Pleasant) from 6 to 7:30pm. Your favorite flightless bird will make a special dinnertime appearance while you enjoy pizza and drinks! Learn all about them, ask their keepers questions, and meet Perky the Penguin.  Pre-registration is required. Call 732-899-1659 or visit Jenkinson’s website for event details.  Event cost is $20 for adults and $15 for children.

November 23 & 24: Wine and Chocolate Weekend at 4JG’s Vineyard (Colts Neck) from 12-5pm. Sip award winning wines, sample delicious locally hand-crafted chocolates and relax. The fire pit will be going (weather permitting), come join the fun! Admission is $15 per adult (ages 21+ only). Learn more here.

November 29: Santa Express and Parade (Red Bank) from 6:45-8pm. Santa rides the NJ Transit train into Red Bank for the annual town lighting and holiday express concert. Join Santa on the train in Little Silver or meet him at the Red Bank train station when he arrives. There’ll be festivities before and after the train arrives with holiday dancers and the Pipes and Drums of the Atlantic Watch. Once in Red Bank, Santa will board a firetruck and lead the parade to Broad Street for the Holiday Express Concert and Town Tree Lighting. This event is free for all ages! Find out more information here.

November 30:

Asbury Park Holiday Bazaar at Convention Hall from 11am-10pm. Check out local and regional artists, vendors, and shops selling handmade art, jewelry, home goods, food, and more. The event will feature live music and special performances, photos with Santa, holiday photo booth pictures, a 30 foot Christmas tree, fireplace lounge, and beautiful holiday decor. While you shop, enjoy a seasonally-inspired menu and holiday drinks at the Anchors Bend and Asbury Oyster Bar. There will alos be kids art classes and holiday craft workshops. Get additional details here.

Seashell Festival (Ship Bottom, LBI) from 10am-3pm. Don’t miss seashells, seaglass, and holiday fun in the 2nd annual LBI Seashell Festival at Things A Drift on Long Beach Blvd. Bring your beach finds and compete in the best shell contest, enjoy some homemade cookies, and support local businesses for Small Business Weekend. There will be vendors with handmade nautical jewelry, art, home decor, holiday gifts and more!  Free admission.  Learn more at https://thingsadrift.com/