HACKENSACK, N.J. — The county sought supplies, and the Hackensack Riverkeeper answered the call.
In response to Bergen County Executive Jim Tedesco’s appeal late last month for donations of personal protective equipment for area healthcare workers and first responders at the frontline amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the Hackensack Riverkeeper delivered 15 boxes of latex gloves.
“We know it’s not a big amount like the piles of gear we’ve all seen being donated by large companies and universities,” said Captain Bill Sheehan. “But for those close to our homes – and close to all our hearts – we’re honored to help in any way we can.”
The Hackensack Riverkeeper, a nonprofit which defends the Public Trust resources of the Hackensack River Watershed through environmental action, advocacy, education and litigation, originally purchased the gloves in late 2019 ahead of their spring River Cleanup, which has since been postponed given the current public health crisis.
The annual cleanup, which commences in March and goes through November, mobilizes more than 1,000 volunteers to scour tens of thousands of pounds of rubbish from the watershed extending from New York State down to Newark Bay.
“As much as we and our dedicated volunteers love our Cleanup program, none of us knows when we’ll be back on the job and back in the field,” explained Sheehan. “And so it seemed like a sin to have 1,500 exam gloves sitting in storage when they could instead be helping protect the people who truly need them.”
The drive-thru donation site is located at the County Annex Building, located at 220 East Ridgewood Avenue in Paramus, behind Bergen New Bridge Medical Center. County staff will unload supplies from the trunks of vehicles.
“When I arrived at Paramus, there were two vehicles being unloaded ahead of me and two more pulled in behind me once it was my turn,” said Riverkeeper’s Program Director Hugh Carola, who delivered the gear. “Even though she wore a mask, there was no mistaking the smile of thanks from the staffer who logged in our donation.”
Donations of surgical masks, medical goggles, protective medical gowns and exam gloves are being accepted Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
For additional information about Bergen County donations, email PPEdonations@co.bergen.nj.us.