SCOTCH PLAINS/FANWOOD, NJ --  When Fanwood resident Maggie Savoca found out about FLAG (Front Line Appreciation Group), she saw an opportunity to help medical workers on the front line in the battle against COVID-19 and established an FLAG-SPF chapter

In other towns, the organization has set up lunch and dinner programs for the healthcare workers, but no one was doing breakfast. She also noticed that the donors came from more affluent towns tended to support their local medical facilities, so she decided to spread the wealth by setting up donations to RWJ - Rahway and Trinitas in Elizabeth. 

Thus far, Savoca has done trips to Overlook Medical Center and RWJ.

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"We try to bring 100-150 cups of hot coffee and breakfast items for about the same amount of people," she said. "We focus on the ER and ICU staff, the nurses, and pediatrics – all people who are putting themselves at risk. I’ve heard that the boxes of Joe bring smiles."

"We collect contributions from our community, including individuals, businesses and the PAL, and then use the money to feed front line workers in our area. It's as grassroots as you can get," said Savoca who has raised about $7,000 so far and goes to food vendors and places like BJs and Costco to buy breakfast items in bulk. "The staff in the mornings tend to like grab-and-go items, yogurt, nuts/cheese combos, things like that."

Savoca said she was inspired by the efforts of Laurie Gallahue and Cynthia Zimmerman, who have raised a decent amount of money and patronized a lot of local restaurants.

"They seem to have lunch and dinner covered, so I'm making sure breakfast is available for workers in the morning," she explained.

On Thursday, Savoca is working with Karan Patel, who owns the Dunkin' Donuts locations in Fanwood (near the train station) and Scotch Plains (across from Santander Bank). Dunkin' Donuts will contribute 10 Boxes of Joe and 10 dozen donuts, and FLAG will purchase 60 breakfast sandwiches. 

"I like making the deliveries at 6:00 a.m. This way, we have something for the overnight staff that are ending their shifts and incoming day shift workers," Savoca said in a phone interview with TAPintoSPF.

The effort is a family affair; Maggie's sons Thomas (15), Connor (20), and AJ (22) are involved, as is her husband, Anthony. They wear protective gear and, since social distancing regulations are still in place, participate as a family/ 

Savoca asks businesses that can provide breakfast items (individually wrapped and prepared using Food Safety precautions) to contact her directly to participate. Individuals wishing to contribute to Maggie's efforts can do so in one of three ways:

  • Venmo: maggiesavoca
  • PayPal: paypal.me/maggiesavoca
  • Cash or check: Mail or drop off a contribution in the mail slot: Maggie Savoca 106 Woodruff Place, Fanwood, NJ 07023.

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