SOMERSET COUNTY, NJ - Claremont Elementary School (CES) can truly say they have a hero(es) on the frontline battling COVID-19.
CES Nurse, Maribeth Virzi is now working at the COVID-19 testing site at Raritan Valley Community College, in Branchburg according to school officials.
"CES school nurse Maribeth Virzi is a shining example of what we work every day to teach our CES students; to be kind, compassionate and to serve our community as best they can," CES Principal, Nicole Bevere said. "She is a role model for us all and PAWSITIVELY awesome."
Virzi is volunteering her time during the district's remote learning period because she didn't want to sit on the sidelines during this pandemic.
"When we knew that school was going to close I signed up with the Medical Core, and RVCC is where I was assigned to help," Virzi said. "I was motivated to do this because I really wanted to help in some way with the Coronavirus."
CES has been open for only two years, but the teachers and staff are constantly looking for ways to cultivate an environment of kindness while giving back to the community.
When Bevere found out Virzi was going to volunteer on the frontlines at the RVCC testing site, she started a superhero collection to pay to feed all the volunteers. Virzi said when she found out about the collection through a FaceTime conversation she was brought to tears.
CES staff chose to work with Joe’s Italian Deli & Restaurant to feed the frontline volunteers. It turned out to be a great choice because Joe's eventually donated the food.
"I was overwhelmed when I found out that Joe's had donated all the food for all the volunteers," Virzi said. "I had never been there so the next day my daughter Livy and I took orders from friends in the neighborhood and drove out to meet them face to face. It was great."
"A huge thanks to the owner and staff at Joe's Italian Deli and Restaurant, who always show us their love and support. We are truly thankful that they yet again extended their hand to us," Bevere said.
John and Joe Distefano released a joint statement thanking CES and all essential workers for their commitment towards doing positive acts for the community.
Here at Joe's Deli, no matter the circumstance we will always be here for our neighborhood and community. We salute all the essential workers and first responders for their service and dedication to their families, our families, and the country. We respect and appreciate the bravery of our local Claremont Elementary School nurse, Maribeth Virzi. To show our thanks for all of the love and support for our loyal customers, we wanted to do something for the first responders and Nurse Maribeth. We are so proud of the Claremont Team for raising funds to support local superheroes...this donation was our way to say Thank you to the Claremont Staff. Continue doing the work that you are doing and spreading positivity.
Joe's Italian Deli & Restaurant is just the first small business CES will tap for help according to school officials. To pay it forward CES will support different superheroes by leveraging existing relationships with other small businesses in town who have shown generosity and support to CES in the last two years.
The test site will service Somerset County and Hunterdon residents today, April 22, and April 24, according to county officials.
Additional dates will be offered based on the availability of test kits and personal protective equipment.
Testing is by appointment only, and people must have a valid doctor's prescription. Anyone without an appointment will be turned away.
Testing is free of charge, and is only for Somerset and Hunterdon county residents, ages 5 and older, who are exhibiting symptoms like fever, dry cough and shortness of breath.
At the testing site, residents must have a written doctor's authorization and show proof of residency.
Appointments can be made by visiting https://somerset-hunterdon.adlabscovidtest.com or calling 908-237-7150.
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