GLEN ROCK, NJ – An effort to help local restaurants while feeding critical care hospital workers is gaining momentum in Glen Rock.

After launching about two weeks ago, Glen Rock Is Never Surrendering (GRINS) has blossomed into a full-blown volunteer meal program for healthcare workers on the front lines of the COVID-19 outbreak.

“It's important to provide meals to the employees as hospitals are shutting down their cafeterias to employees to make room for more sick patients," said Glen Rock resident Elizabeth Carr, a school nurse in the Haledon School District. "Employees don’t have a lot of time to go get food or even have a full meal, so to be able to provide something as a grab and go is so important right now.”

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Based off a similar group in Wyckoff, GRINS was started by Carr, Terry McBride and Brigid Nonas as a way to provide income for restaurants affected by coronavirus shutdowns while showing support for hospital workers.

GRINS teamed up with several local eateries to purchase meals, which are then delivered by volunteers to hospitals throughout Bergen County on a daily basis. Bags are also stuffed with scores of Thank You cards and notes to lift the spirits of the staffs at hospitals.

So far, more than $23,000 has been raised and hundreds of meals have been delivered to workers at Hackensack University Medical Center and Holy Name Medical Center. This week, the group also began dropping off meals at Montvale Marriott, which is where out-of-state healthcare workers who came to help locally are staying.

GRINS formed partnerships with several local eateries, including Wilkes Deli, Merve’s Kitchen & Bakery, Francesca Brick Oven Pizza & Pasta, Turvino’s Pizzeria & Restaurant, Iachetti’s Kitchen, John’s Boy Pizzeria, Bagel Culture, Rock Kitchen and the Glen Rock Inn.

Salvatore Reina, one of the owners of Francesca Brick Oven Pizza & Pasta, called the homegrown effort “amazing.”

“Knowing that people got together to raise money to feed healthcare and frontline workers, as well as using those funds to help support our local eateries is incredible,” he said. “It’s a win-win for both parties.”

“Also, I’m so honored knowing that the food we are preparing is going to some of the most important people in the world right now,” Reina said.

GRINS is just one of many volunteer initiatives across the country organized as a way to show appreciation and give a morale boost to those who are tirelessly battling COVID-19.

There are also a few other ways you can support healthcare workers, according to McBride.

“Reach out to healthcare workers in your neighborhood. Lend an ear or shoulder (from six feet). Shoot them a text, email or note of support. We are all stressed, but this is intensified in the very people we are relying on,” he said.

“Studies have shown that what they are experiencing will have lingering effects. Yes, this is their job. However, they are risking their health and seeing things on a daily basis that were unfathomable a few weeks ago.”

In a recent Facebook post, Holy Name Medical Center wrote the outpouring of support from local communities “motivates and inspires” staffers at the hospital, which is considered to be one of the hardest-hit in the country.

“You fuel our fight with #COVID19 with breakfast, lunch and dinner. You ease our pain with artwork and encouragement. Please don’t stop. Keep fighting for us, so we can keep fighting for all of you. Every action matters. Thank you for lifting us up. You are making a difference in our lives and the lives of the people we are saving. Thank you for rooting for us,” the hospital wrote.

How To Help

  1. Volunteer to pick up meals at local restaurants and drop off at hospitals. Sign up here.
  2. Donate money via Venmo (@ElizabethCarr18)
  3. Restaurants interested in joining the effort can contact the group on its Facebook page.