something good always comes out of something bad. At least that’s the way Daniel
Raymond Oelfke views life these days.
The 55-year-old veteran from Spotswood
has experienced a lifetime worth of hardships, from cardiac and circulatory issues to
financial woes. At one point, he lost everything and ended up living for weeks in a park
in Howell with his wife and son. Through it
all, he kept the faith, as he puts it—especially
after connecting with Community Hope.
Oelfke hit bottom after heart surgery in
March 2017. He and his family were days away
from being evicted.
“We ran into a hole and we needed help,”
Oelfke says. He had amassed a notebook
filled with contact information on dozens of
organizations that dealt with veterans and
homelessness. “I would get turned down left
and right,” he says. “One day
I got a hold of Community
Hope, and they’ve been great.”
Oelfke served in the U. S.
Army from 1983 to 1986 as an
airborne infantry paratrooper;
he later worked in construction.
Thanks to his years of service, he was a candidate for assistance from Hope for Veterans, a
Community Hope program that helps homeless
veterans through residential recovery, counseling, financial assistance and other services.
For the most part, Community Hope, a Par-sippany-based nonprofit, provides services to
individuals recovering from chronic mental
illnesses. What started as a safe haven for four
people in 1985 has blossomed into today’s 26
northern New Jeresey facilities.
“A lot of what we do is connect the veteran
to resources that are going
to be able to help them,” says
Allyson M. Huff, Oelfke’s
case manager. Huff helped
Oelfke secure social security entitlements and
disability benefits when circulation problems
in his right leg made it impossi-
ble for him to work. (The leg was
recently amputated.) Huff also
provides friendship and support
for Oelfke and his family.
“I can now afford to live
where I’m living,” Oelfke says
of the new rental unit in Pemberton that he
shares with his wife and son.
Community Hope’s key fundraiser this
year is its 22nd Annual Sparkle of Hope Gala,
which aims to raise $2 million in grants and
donations, says board president Diana Lunt.
The 2017 event raised $1.5 million.
“Life throws you curves,” says Oelfke, “and
it’s good to know that there’s people out there
like Allyson and Community Hope that’ll help.
They gave us hope again.”
“We ran into
a hole and we
—Daniel Raymond Oelfke
including veterans and
their families, overcome
mental illness, addiction, homelessness and
poverty by providing
housing and support
In 1985 to help young
adults recovering from
aided 800 veterans in
2017 and assists more
than 1,500 individuals
HOW TO HELP
Contact Julia Bey
Ahmet, chief development officer and vice
president of marketing and development, for volunteer
opportunities, or visit
Call 973-463-9600, or
visit them on the web at
The 22nd Annual
Sparkle of Hope Gala,
October 17 in Pompton
Plains, will raise funds
to support Community
FOR PHOTOS OF RECENT BENEFITS, GO TO NJMONTHLY.COM/GIVINGBACK
SEND PICTURES OF YOUR FUND-RAISERS TO GIVINGBACK@NJMONTHLY.COM
SPOTLIGHT ON » COMMUNITY HOPE
with the Community Hope
An ailing veteran grabs a lifeline and hauls himself
and his family out of the depths of despair.