BRIDGEWATER, NJ - Members of the Bridgewater-Raritan Education Association recently provided lunch to those manning the COVID-19 testing site at the Raritan Valley Community College.
Members were able to drop off the food and sodas, made at a discounted cost by Joe’s Meat Market, of South Bound Brook, and then drove through the area waving to the brave people while bleeping their horns.
The B-REA represents the employees of the Bridgewater-Raritan Regional School District, representing teachers, classroom aides, lunch aides, secretaries, nurses, building and grounds workers and maintenance workers.
Some of the volunteer healthcare workers at the RVCC site are employed as nurses by the school district.
“As an association, we believe in giving back to the community in which we serve,” said Susan Gonzales Harwick, BREA second vice president. “All our members are working diligently to keep our students and their families in as normal a situation as possible.”
B-REA president Laura Kress said the two nurses volunteering were Alice Hadley, of Bridgewater-Raritan High School, and Robin Davitt, of Hamilton Primary School. She said they worked at the site for the two-and-a-half weeks they were open.
In addition, Kress said, each year, New Jersey Education Association locals are entitled to an amount of money to hold functions that involve community members, as well as NJEA/B-REA members. Called PRIDE money, the amount given to the local organization is based on the number of members.
Kress said the B-REA has a chairperson, BRHS guidance counselor Steve Rubin, who writes and applies for $85,000 worth of grants every year.
“That money goes toward the nine of the parent student breakfasts we run, the evening parent programs we run, the yearly stakeholders dinner at Maggiano’s and Teacher of the Day,” she said. “This year, we had to cancel our end-of-the-year activities, leaving us with a little over $1,800.”
The representatives from the BREA, Kress said, voted to donate that money to the Somerset County Food Bank.
“We are working in conjunction with Shop Rite,” she said. “Shop Rite will put together the food backpacks for students, and then the Somerset County Food Bank will pick up the backpacks.”