GLEN ROCK, NJ - While the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown continues, two Glen Rock High School juniors took early action to mitigate plummeting local business revenues and assist area hospitals and children's organizations.
Ty Scherer and Lily Ryan sold t-shirts in mid March to finance the purchase of local gift cards and give those gift cards to teachers and hospital workers.
"We are truly amazed and touched by the community support for this fundraiser," Lily said.
"Glen Rock Solid," the name of their effort, raised $14,000, surpassing their goal of $3,000. After purchasing "Rock Solid" t-shirts, they had $10,000 left to purchase the gift cards and give to area organizations, such as Oasis, a Paterson women and children's refuge.
Ty and Lily began the fundraiser because they were concerned about the businesses who were forced to close their doors after Gov. Phil Murphy ordered them shutdown. Public health officials said asking people to stay home and social distance was and continues to be the best way to reduce the spread of coronavirus.
"We are all very connected to these businesses and consider many of them to be a part of the family," Scherer said. "We were worried that a closure due to the pandemic would lead to a financial situation where they would be unable to reopen. We also sensed the growing fear of this virus in the community, and we wanted to find a way to bring unity and solidarity, hence our "Rock Solid" t-Shirts."
They made purchases from Francescas, Wilkes, Merves, and the Growcery. They placed orders with Johns Boy, Glen Rock Inn, and Rock Kitchen, and planned on buying locally from others.
"With these items, we had significant food donations to Valley Hospital and New Bridge Medical Center, as well as Oasis in Paterson," Ty said.
Several weeks ago, when they organized the effort, they had more hospital donations planned, as well as significant donations to foster homes in Paterson and Hackensack.
"Lily and I have been blown away by the town's response," Ty said.
Initially, they weren’t sure anyone would donate, but they felt they had to do something to help all the shops in Glen Rock "that are such a big part" of their lives.
"We also wanted to find a way to say thanks to the teachers for doing everything they’re doing to keep school going for us and to the healthcare workers who are on the front lines of fighting this virus," Lily said.