MILLBURN, NJ — As the COVID-19 pandemic continues on, charitable groups and individuals in town have continued to work their hardest to provide for first responders, medical personnel and local businesses.
One of those groups is Millburn Front Line Appreciation Group (FLAG). Since being covered by TAPinto Millburn/Short Hills several weeks ago, FLAG has continued its effort in the community. FLAG Director Shannon Cross sat down with TAPinto Millburn/Short Hills for a recent follow-up interview, to showcase what the group was doing.
As cross noted, the support from Millburn residents has made all the difference.
"It's just phenomenal," Cross said. "We started this less than a month ago, on March 29th. It was our first food donation. We brought the first responders in Millburn breakfast [...] since then, we have been able to expand the program to feed the first responders in Millburn one meal a day, seven days a week, and we've been able to send food to an average of two hospitals per day."
All the money raised is used by the group to purchase food from local vendors, ensuring that the financial health of the business community in town is also being taken care of as well.
"I think it's been a very challenging time for the restaurants,' Cross said. "So it's a very unique and rewarding charity, in that we're [also] helping to support local businesses."
Another aspect Cross noted was the hospital workers, who have told her that her work has been nice to see, as they feel stressed out from their work on the front lines of the pandemic, and knowing there is at least one group behind them is good for them.
"The other thing I would say is that I've been overwhelmed by the amount of volunteers," Cross said. "People who've reached out to see if they could help. For a delivery standpoint, most of the food is being delivered by the restaurants, so we don't need as much help there."
Highlighting the volunteer spirit, she relayed the story of Elizabeth Rovitz, a college student in town who has organized fuel bags, with a few quick snacks to help keep medical workers' energy up in between shifts. She also mentioned the town-wide thank you cards, which were delivered to first responders in town and can be seen at the top of the post.
The cards contain messages from 160 or so families in town who wrote letters or drew pictures, and Cross noted it's a way to thank the first responders for their service during this time.
As of the latest update, FLAG has raised over $60,000, but due to the nature of their operation, almost all that money has got straight back into purchasing food from local businesses. As a result, Cross noted that the organization is always looking for donations.
Anyone wishing to donate to FLAG and help with their efforts can do so by Venmo: @flagofmsh or PayPal: email@example.com. Checks can also be made out to FLAG of Millburn/Short Hills at 15 Twin Oak Rd., Short Hills, NJ 07078.