BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - A handful of Berkeley Heights residents have mobilized with the goal of feeding those on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic and supporting local restaurants.  They need your help!

“There are a lot of overworked, stressed-out first responders and healthcare workers who do not have a break to eat while trying to save our lives and putting themselves in harm's way.  Our local restaurants also need our help,” said Berkeley Heights resident Mara Cruwys.  “I thought I had an original idea of matching the two needs; feeding First Responders while helping the restaurants stay in business by paying them to provide food,” explained Cruwys.  Once Cruwys shared her idea on social media, she quickly realized that there are several other local groups in neighboring towns that share the same mission. “Great minds think alike,” joked Cruwys.

The Berkeley Heights PAL has created the “Feed the First Responders/Healthcare Workers” project in order to collect donations. “I put my idea out on Berkeley Heights Forums on Facebook and these two wonderful ladies stepped up to make this happen. Peggy House, from the Berkeley Heights PAL, is handling the financial side and Jodie Pelinsky is organizing the deliveries between restaurants and recipients. This would not have happened without them,” said Cruwys.  

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In two days, the group has raised over $10,000. House said in a Facebook post, “We are covering shifts of 100 workers and the cost is typically $1,200 a day, since the meals need to be individually packaged. We live in a very caring and supportive community, and I am thankful for everyone who has donated, offered to help and sent kind words.”  

 Berkeley Heights restaurants currently in queue to participate include Charkoal Portugese Grille, Clemente’s Pizzeria, Delicious Heights, Dimaios, Domino’s, Goodman’s Deli & Restaurant, Grain & Cane, LaRosa Chicken, Proud Thai, Sam I Am Bagels and The Pastrami House.  Cruwys said, “We just started this initiative, so I’m sure more restaurants will come on board. I urge them to contact me if I have not already reached out to them.” 

The group has collaborated with local group, FLAG (Front Line Appreciation Group) of Summit who shares the same mission.  The two groups are working together to coordinate donations headed to Overlook Medical Center to avoid duplication.

The ladies behind “Feed the First Responders/Healthcare Workers” project have their sights set on feeding as many as possible including ‘front liners’ at Overlook Medical Center, Summit Medical Group in Berkeley Heights, The Berkeley Heights Volunteer Rescue Squad, eMedical in Berkeley Heights, the Berkeley Heights Police Department and other local groups according to need and donations as they become available.  “It will not be easy to provide these meals without a steady stream of donations that will last through the duration of this whole nightmare. All donations, of any size, are gratefully accepted and appreciated,” said Cruwys.

There are two ways to donate directly to the “Feed the First Responders/Healthcare Workers’’ Project:

  • Venmo: @BerkeleyHeights-PAL (press "skip" when asked for last four digits) 

  • Visit:  WWW.BHPAL.ORG/REGISTRATION (select/register multiple family members under various denominations to get to the donation level you wish to make.  Also, page down on the registration site to see different donation options.)

Please reach out to Mara Cruwys with any questions, (908) 472-8026.