FAIR LAWN, NJ - With thoughts of good will from the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, Fair Lawn Sunrise Rotary members have been continuing to find ways to help community members and those on the front lines.

"When COVID-19 officially reached Fair Lawn, I knew the members of Fair Lawn Sunrise Rotary would want to help in any way possible," said Marianne Pettineo, president of the Fair Lawn Sunrise Rotary. "Several members reached out to offer to do food shopping for elderly residents who could not leave their house or call and check on seniors, who may be homebound alone."

The wheels kept turning and in addition to collecting personal protective equipment for hospitals and the Fair Lawn Volunteer Ambulance Corps, more members thought of more ways to help.

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"A few days later I received a call from Vince Albanese, whose wife was a nursing supervisor at a local hospital, asking if the Club would be interested in donating food to medical staff," she said. "Within our small Rotary Club of 45 members, we had six spouses who were nurses, some of whom were currently working with COVID-19 patients or would soon be as the number of cases grew. Another worked at a nursing home that was about to be impacted by the virus."

Pettineo said they were all affected during a Zoom Rotary meeting, they listened as one nurse spoke about a 13-hour shift with not enough time to wait in the cafeteria to grab a meal. 

"Another hospital had closed their cafeteria and moved in hospital beds to provide additional treatment space," she said. "Our Club agreed to contribute towards providing dinners and snack baskets for hospital personnel, with many individual Rotarians making personal donations, as well."

"The Borough Manager allowed me to send out a letter about our project to Borough employees, and we reached out to various members of the community who were involved in various other organizations," Pettineo said.

Meals have been purchased from local Fair Lawn establishments during this ongoing effort, which supports the members of the business community who are hurting.

How to donate: Click onto FLSunriseRotary.org or click on this PayPal link to donate. Checks can be made out to Fair Lawn Sunrise Rotary and mailed to P.O. Box 112, Fair Lawn, NJ 07410. Questions? Email FairLawnSunriseRotary@gmail.com

"Despite the personal worry of having a wife in the nursing field and having just lost a brother-in-law to COVID-19, Vince Albanese has worked tirelessly on reaching out to plan the next upcoming meal donations," Pettineo said. "I am so proud of Vince, of Nick DeGregorio who arranged a collection of PPE supplies for our local hospitals, Fair Lawn Volunteer Ambulance Corps, and of all our Fair Lawn Sunrise Rotarians. They never hesitate to help and never say no when there is a need."