Coming off the busiest month in the Ocean County Social Services
Department's history, the county has been forced to close its southern
office in Manahawkin after a lightning strike hit the building during Tuesday's tornado.
The Haywood Road building houses the southern offices of the county's social services and health departments.
lightning started a fire in the roof," said Freeholder Gerry P. Little,
explaining the building suffered a trifecta of smoke, fire and water
There is now a hole in the building's roof and all of the
computers and other pieces of electronic equipment kept there have been
destroyed, Little said. The 75 employees who worked at the two
departments have been moved to offices in Toms River and Lakewood.
closure couldn't have come at a busier time, county officials said. The
office handled 11,000 walk-in clients alone in July, its busiest month
"We are seeing record numbers of people who are seeking
help," said Little. "There is no question that the closure of that
southern facility is going to have an impact on the delivery of those
The services include the administration of general
assistance programs, food stamps, the Temporary Assistance for Needy
Families program, as well as adult Medicaid family care from the health
Women, Infants and Children (WIC) clinics which were held at the building have also been postponed.
who usually visit the Manahawkin office should call 732-349-1500 and
speak to an operator for assistance, officials said. Those who
participate in the WIC clinics can call 732-341-9700, extension 7411, or
visit the health department's website at www.ochd.org for more information about those programs.