SCOTCH PLAINS/FANWOOD, NJ -- It started as a comment exchange on Facebook between two women who had never met and blossomed into an effort that has both supported local businesses and thanked heroes on the frontline in the battle against coronavirus.

Every day since March 27, Laurie Gallahue and Carol Zimmerman have ordered meals in Fanwood and Scotch Plains and them to local hospitals and nursing homes in the area. In less than a month, the two have raised more than $10,000 in donations that they used to purchase meals for healthcare workers at Rahway Hospital, Overlook Medical Center, The Chelsea at Fanwood, and Ashbrook Nursing Home in Scotch Plains.

"Someone had written a post about patronizing local businesses in one of the Scotch Plains-Fanwood group pages. Then Laurie and I started coordinating via Facebook messenger," Carol Zimmerman said. "We thought it was going to be just a couple of nights, but every time we post something, people donate. We spend all the money locally."

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"It has grown into more than what we could have expected. We decided to write a post, ask for a few donations and send a few pizzas to local healthcare workers," Laurie Gallahue said. "This is about supporting all the local businesses. We are not looking for discounts, we just want to support the business owners. We'll keep doing this until it isn't needed anymore or when donations stop."

For instance, on Tuesday, April 14, Gallahue and Zimmerman sent a large lunch order to the Ashbrook Nursing staff to thank them for taking care of our most vulnerable neighbors. Last week, they delivered vegetarian and grilled chicken wraps from Sheelen’s Crossing to Ashbrook Nursing Home and to Overlook. During Easter Weekend, the dynamic duo sent meals from Sheelen's to the staff at three different facilities.

Gallahue and Zimmerman also sent 24 dozen individually wrapped crumb cakes and muffins from the Swiss Bakery and a large box of Individually wrapped dark chocolate almond bark from Metta Casa in Scotch Plains to Rahway Hospital. Each bag had a motivational message written by a high school senior.

"Your donations are supporting SPF Small Businesses while feeding the front line," Zimmerman said. "Tell your friends. This will continue as long as we have donations and a need."

The support has gone beyond meal delivery. Last week, Gallahue found out that nurses needed ointment for their hands and bought $700 on Aquaphor ointment from Fanwood Pharmacy and donated it to the local healthcare workers.

Anyone can donate via Venmo to @laurie-gallahue or @Carol-zimmerman-19

Since March 26, Gallahue and Zimmerman have distributed:

  • 120 pizzas
  • Dozens of bagel/egg/cheese sandwiches
  • 600 subs
  • 200 wraps
  • 400 individually wrapped baked goods
  • One LARGE box dark chocolate almond bark, and
  • 200 Aquaphor ointments (for the nurse’s sore hands)

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