WOOD-RIDGE, NJ - A gesture of appreciation for the Easter holiday turned into a town-wide effort to support the healthcare professionals working on the front lines at a local Bergen County hospital.
Wood-Ridge resident Forrest Elliott knew he wanted to do something for the nurses and staff at Hackensack University Medical Center during the coronavirus health crisis. So he and his wife, Diane, arranged Easter lunches for 75 nurses and staffers at Hackensack University Medical Center. The couple tapped Wood-Ridge's Lucky Larry's Luncheonette to cater the meals. Then he decided that they needed dessert along with their meals. He reached out to Mill's Bakery, also in town, and to social media for donations.
"It was overwhelming," said Elliott, a retired special needs teacher of 30-plus years in the Clifton School District. "The response from everyone has been amazing."
The final tally for dessert: $800. (aside from Sunday's Easter confections, there is enough for a second order of sweets for the hospital to be scheduled later in the week.)
Aside from lunch and dessert, people donated drinks, soda and seven cases of water. Plus Elliott collected 250 K-Cups to keep the staff caffeinated.
Easter Sunday afternoon, the Elliotts picked up all the food. On the menu: tins of baked ziti, penne à la vodka, sausage and peppers, chicken marsala, broccoli and cavatelli, green salad, and fruit salad from Larry's. For dessert: five large trays of baked goods, including Easter cakes, crumb cake, pies, cakes, donuts, dinner rolls, and assorted pastries and danish from Mill's. And a ten pound tray of cookies from the Lyndhurst Pastry Shop.
The couple delivered the Easter meals along with colorful cards and posters of gratitude from residents.
"This is what it means to be a Rotarian," said Elliott, a member of the Secaucus Rotary. "Service above self."
"I was happy that our community was able to come together and thank the nurses, doctors, and staff at the hospital."
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