I write with deep concern and some curiosity regarding the letter of 3/25/20 to Mr. Kevin Kinard from the firm of DeCotiis, Fitz Patrick, Cole & Giblin, LLP which advised the dedicated volunteers to stop serving the needs of the community. I've had the opportunity to review the letter, but am not yet clear whose interests the firm actually represents. This is a Federal H.U.D. property
The letter asserts that the volunteers who have been providing meals and staples to elderly, disabled and low- income residents at the Early Street housing complex are in violation of the Governor's Executive Order # 107, designed, in part, to restrict travel during the Coronavirus emergency.
I intended to attach the full Order, but it is too large. You can locate it here
The letter cites this section as the reason to stop their charitable work:
2. All New Jersey residents shall remain home or at their place of residence unless they are 1) obtaining goods or services from essential retail businesses, as described in Paragraph 6; 2) obtaining takeout food or beverages from restaurants, other dining establishments, or food courts, pursuant to Paragraph 8; 3) seeking medical attention, essential social services, or assistance from law enforcement or emergency services; 4) visiting family or other individuals with whom the resident has a close personal relationship, such as those for whom the individual is a caretaker or romantic partner; 5) reporting to, or performing, their job; 6) walking, running, operating a wheelchair, or engaging in outdoor activities with immediate family members, caretakers, household members, or romantic partners while following best social distancing practices with other individuals, including staying six feet apart; 7) leaving the home for an educational, religious, or political reason; 8) leaving because of a reasonable fear for his or her health or safety; or 9) leaving at the direction of law enforcement or other government agency
I will never believe that it was intended to prevent the feeding of the food insecure population. That interpretation is improperly applied to this matter to assert that it is a violation of the travel restrictions to volunteer their time and services to nourish these individuals, when in fact, one volunteer lives in the building.
If it were applicable, you would have to believe that it would be okay, assuming that a senior had money at the end of the month right before their Social Security or Disability check were to come, to order Empanadas from a Ford Court and have the delivered by Uber. That it is acceptable for a disabled person to drive to a supermarket, risking contamination. In the alternative, they could take very risky public transportation to pick up costly to-go orders in town. But that, somehow, the delivery of nutritious meals, non-perishables and toiletries violates something, somewhere...
I refer you to item # 18 of the attached Order # 107 which states:
18. Nothing in this Order shall be construed to limit, prohibit, or restrict in any way access to essential services for low-income residents, including but not limited to food banks.
If this is Governor Murphy's Order for NJ, why are other cities and towns expressing gratitude for the same services by their volunteers at the same time Morristown is shutting it down?
How this is not politically motivated when the "cease and desist" letter is dated the same day that a member of the Board of the Morristown Housing Authority posted on Facebook that she was out delivering homemade cookies around town? The Political exemption for travel? Above the la and exempt from the Order?
Please don't allow that to obstruct someone from enjoying the delivery of meals at a time when they are isolated from the world and uncertain of the future.