Long Branch, NJ - New residents have moved in at The Arc of Monmouth’s Work Opportunity Center (WOC) in Long Branch and they are being welcomed with open arms as the individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) that receive services there are raising WORMS for profit!

Tracey Grell, an individual served by The Arc of Monmouth's Work Opportunity Center in Long Branch feeding one of the newly aquired worm farms.

Raising worms first began as a green project introduced by James Brown of the Monmouth County Planning Board Recycling Program to the WOC Self Advocate Group. The group enjoyed caring for the worms and watching them evolve. The initial worms were donated to the Seventh Avenue Community Garden in Long Branch.

Through research, Director of Vocational Services, Linda Porter learned that in addition to fishing bait, worms are valuable for their castings (waste) as well as aerating soil. With so many gardeners in the area, it was agreed that the sale of worms would be a wonderful way to raise additional funds for WOC.

This past winter, donations were sought to purchase two additional farms. Generous donors were eager to help and the farms were bought. There are now three active worm communities at WOC consisting of Red Wigglers and Night Crawlers. Three individuals with I/DD maintain the farms, but it is truly a group effort as the entire center gathers food for the worms which includes but is not limited to fruit peel and rinds, coffee grinds, peanut shells and moistened newspaper.

“I never thought I would be supervising the growth of worms, but it has really brought some of our individuals out of their shell, and given them new responsibility and pride in a job well done,” said Mrs. Porter. “They really care about these worms and want to succeed.”

The ultimate goal is to sell the worms, but first the communities must become established which will take about one year. Until then, this new project will continue to enhance the experience at The Arc of Monmouth’s Work Opportunity Center.

The Arc of Monmouth serves more than 1,400 individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families each year with education, vocational training, residential services, health care, supported employment, recreation, individual and family supports, and advocacy.

The Arc of Monmouth’s Work Opportunity Center is comprised of a reliable workforce for all of your packaging, assembly and shredding needs. Call Elaine Richardson, Sales and Marketing Manager at 732-229-4414 for more information about how WOC can help you increase production and performance.

To learn more about The Arc of Monmouth and the Work Opportunity Center visit www.arcofmonmouth.org.