TOMS RIVER – There are groups of people in the county who are helping the homeless or others in need, and they all know former city councilor Terrence Turnbach.
The Democrat served a term on city council before losing to Republican newcomer David Ciccozzi in November. Toms River is divided into four wards, with one council member each. They live in Ward 4.
“I certainly fell in love with the public service,” said Turnbach, reflecting on his tenure.
When you are elected, people ask for your help, so the opportunities to serve others open up a bit. He said he would continue to help others even though he is no longer an elected official.
Turnbach helped find a homeless shelter in Riverwood Park and said he would continue to work to provide them with year-round housing.
“I believe we will secure a transitional housing center all year round. That was my goal and it is an unfinished business, ”he said. “I’m as passionate about it now as I was before. “
Turnbach spent a winter night in a tent near the town hall to draw attention to the plight of the homeless. He was the guest of MP Gregory McGuckin in Trenton when state law changed the ruling on how Code Blue works. The state opened temporary shelters once the temperature reached freezing point, but only if there was rainfall. The temperature could be a little below freezing and the shelters would not open if the weather was dry. Toms River has changed its local ordinance to open Riverwood to temperatures just above zero regardless of the weather. The rest of the state followed suit.
“It’s Pop The Trunk week 93 and I’ve been there every week,” he said, referring to the food giveaways that are being held every Friday in response to the pandemic. People have come from all over Ocean County – not just from Toms River, “and I don’t see the need to stop.
“It really brought the community together. We have become a family of volunteers, ”he said.
Helping others means, in part, reaching the other side of the aisle. Turnbach was one of two Democrats on the board for much of his tenure.
“Mo Hill gets up every day to go to work for the people of Toms River,” he said of the Republican mayor. “We can differ the views sometimes, but he’s standing right next to me handing out food. “
Turnbach said that although his term on the board has ended for the time being, he does not wish to stray from politics at this time. The 45-year-old said he has a lot of time and a lot of desire to help people both as a citizen and as a politician.