MORRIS COUNTY, NJ - FLAG (Front Line Appreciation Group) of Chatham-Madison is a non-profit organization* that began as a direct response to the 2020 COVID19
pandemic. The mission is simple: send meals to those working on the front lines, while simultaneously providing much-needed business to local restaurants who are struggling due to social distancing and other COVID19-related issues.
Founded by Liz Bernich of Chatham, NJ and Gina McGuire of Madison, NJ, FLAG started on March 19, 2020. With tremendous financial support and enthusiasm from
their communities, they have raised over $200,000 to date, and worked with over 40 local restaurants across Chatham, Madison and neighboring Florham Park. Payment for each meal is fair price, and the organization has delivered 22,463 meals and spent over $161,000 with these restaurants to date. (99% of donations received during this pandemic are being spent on meals with restaurants, the balance accounts for expenses such as banking fees, PayPal fees, website hosting.)
In addition to donations made by members of the communities, FLAG has been the grateful recipient of several corporate monetary donations to use to further the effort. “It
is just amazing to see the outpouring of support from our community, both individuals and corporations” said Bernich. “So much good has been done, but the challenging times are not over. Our front liners are still battling the war against COVID19, and our local businesses are still in need of support, so we hope donations will continue to come
in”, she adds.
Fueled by a tremendous wave of good-news sharing on social media, many proactive and community-oriented individuals in surrounding towns have launched their own FLAG efforts. “We were thrilled to see the kindness spread, and happy to share information, common practices and experience, as well as the FLAG logo, so that
others can support their front liners and local economies, too” said McGuire.
FLAG has become a nationwide movement- with 117+ other groups across 28 states and serving over 100 hospitals and local community first responders across the country.
These groups operate independently from one another**, but share the mission in common. Each group uses FLAG + their town name to differentiate themselves, for example, FLAG of Summit.
On April 12, 2020, approximately three weeks after its launch, FLAG groups combined reached a major milestone - exceeding $1M raised nationwide. On April 27, 2020, they announced the achievement of another major milestone - exceeding $1M paid to local restaurants nationwide.
For more information on FLAG of Chatham-Madison, please visit https://www.flagchathammadisonnj.org. To see where other FLAG groups are operating around the US, please see www.FLAG2020.org.