PISCATAWAY, NJ – Brother and sister, Drew and Heather Paglia have a strong connection to Piscataway. Not only does their grandmother live in the township, but their mom, Cindy lived in Piscataway for over 30 years.
The Paglia family visited the area almost every day. That is, until coronavirus began to sweep across the nation, with the quarantine and social distancing rules going into effect, said Cindy.
Faced with the pandemic, the teens decided they wanted to make a difference in the lives of those on the front lines caring for people diagnosed with COVID-19, as well as senior citizens and small businesses, raising money to help them through their website, www.5help.org and a GoFundMe campaign.
“‘Together, We Are Stronger Than COVID-19’ is their main slogan,” said Cindy about the teens’ campaign which has led to interviews on various national TV news programs. “They want to unite communities.”
So far, the teens have raised almost $25,000 from their supporters which has allowed them to send meals via no-contact deliveries to staff members at Robert Wood Johnson Hospital, Saint Peter's University Hospital, CentraState Medical Center, and other locations.
“They contribute gift cards they purchase from local restaurants for discharged patients to take home with them, helping to keep these businesses afloat,” said Cindy.
Because of their deep ties to Piscataway, Drew and Heather also want to help local businesses, seniors, and first responders in the township with their fundraising efforts. The siblings have been coordinating with officials with the Piscataway Police, fire companies and rescue squads to have meals delivered to their first responders over the next week, all purchased from township restaurants.
Their recently launched website has “national reach” and they are building a team of volunteers to help out in the area and across the country.
“Everyone can help someone from the comfort of their own home with no money or at most, $5,” said Cindy.
For more information on Drew and Heather Paglia’s 5Help Team Movement of Volunteers visit https://www.facebook.com/groups/3641124355959161/.
To Our Readers: If you have a “good news” story about Piscataway residents helping their friends and neighbors or celebrating others during the coronavirus pandemic, tell us about it.