SUMMIT, NJ - Katie Darcy of FLAG of Summit and Liz Bernich of FLAG of Chatham / Madison have been chosen as the recipients of The Junior League of Summit's 2020 Jean Hudson Gano Community Service Award. The annual award is given in memory of and in tribute to Jean Hudson Gano, a Junior League of Summit (JLS) member who died of breast cancer in 1997.

Gano's exemplary and extraordinary commitment to volunteerism, community service and particularly to issues regarding women and children, was an inspiration to all those that were touched by her efforts.

Darcy and Bernich were presented with the award at the Junior League’s General Membership Meeting by Erika Melchiorre, the Junior League of Summit's Past President and current Community Liaison. Tara Charvat, JLS President, added, “We are honored to be able to support such worthy organizations and the women who founded them. Their important work aligns with Junior League's core mission of developing women through community impact.” 

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Front Line Appreciation Group (FLAG) is a group that's dedicated to helping feed front line health care workers during the coronavirus pandemic while also keeping local restaurants in business. Started by Bernich of Chatham, who teamed up with fellow mom Gina McGuire of Madison to create a group that raised an astounding $100,000+ for the cause in its first two weeks of existence. The FLAG concept went nationwide, with more than 100 other independent, community-based FLAG organizations amplifying the mission. 

FLAG of Chatham / /Madison had 32,642 meals delivered, spent $238,644 locally, and raised $254,007 for local use and partnered with 52 different businesses/ restaurants across Chatham, Madison and Florham Park.

Katie Darcy of FLAG Summit soon followed suit, adding “After seeing something on Facebook from Chatham, that had started maybe three days prior, I knew we had to do something in Summit. I was prepared to carry all the weight and do every single delivery, but having grown up in Summit, I knew this community would step up- both financially and with their time. This town did not disappoint. During a very chaotic, uncertain time, it felt so good to be a part of something good.”

Summit FLAG delivered 18,000 meals, raised over $150,000, and patronized more than 80 local businesses.

The Junior League of Summit is a nonprofit, charitable, and educational organization of women who are committed to promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women, and improving the community through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers. For more information, visit jlsummit.org or call 908-273-7349.