Maplewoodian by Joe Strupp

Collum And McGehee Make Saturday Night Supermarket Spree a Puerto Rican Fundraiser

Collum And McGehee Make Saturday Night Supermaket Spree a Puerto Rican Fundraiser Credits: Joe Strupp
b531d48546b77c1f72ba_20170930_220920.jpg
51eb238a8d5e2d04fc6e_20170930_221530.jpg
5da10977b931558ac277_0ba681737c0da2fc7a8f_20170930_221538.jpg
8faf0a8b9f8ca3ca6315_1dde98b499911ffad7a4_20170930_221751.jpg
b531d48546b77c1f72ba_20170930_220920.jpg

SOUTH ORANGE, NJ - If you dropped by the Stop & Shop in South Orange Saturday night, you might have wondered who those people were roaming the store seeking donations and buying supplies for Hurricane Maria victims in Puerto Rico.

It was none other than South Orange Village President Sheena Collum and Maplewood Township Committeeman Frank McGehee.

The duo, who’d been together earlier in the evening at Above talking shop, had a spur of the moment idea to collect needed food and other groceries for those devastated by the storm.

Sign Up for E-News

“I was just driving over, thinking what is the way we can try and generate interest in helping Puerto Rico,” Collum recalled. “Seeing the mayor of San Juan on Fridaybegging for help, I wanted to do something. As a mayor, I really empathized with the situation.”

So, at about 8:45 p.m., Collum, McGehee and local activist Larry Hirsch showed up unannounced at the Valley Street supermarket, checked in with the manager and staffers, and hit the aisles to load up on canned goods, paper products and any other non-perishables to ship south to the island dwellers.

At the same time, Collum -- who has taken Facebook livestreaming to a high art form -- switched on her smartphone for a mini-telethon asking her followers to pitch in with goods or cash. (See it HERE.)

Many customers in the store who came upon the pair as they traversed the aisles in search of donation items also offered up contributions.

“We’re shopping for Puerto Rico, we’re shopping for Puerto Rico,” Collum could be heard announcing as she roamed the store, with McGehee alongside. “Let’s fill it up, let’s do it,” McGehee directed as they nearly emptied a shelf of Campbell’s Soup into one of many carts.

Like a scene out of the old Supermarket Sweep television show, the elected officials raced the carts up and down Stop & Shop’s aisles with determination.

Channeling their inner Jerry Lewis, both Collum and McGehee mixed requests for donations with a play-by-play of their food store surge on Facebook Live.

At one point, Collum was almost giddy about getting feminine hygiene products: “Tampons are always good, Frank.” She later made the serious point that they are “very important as women and young girls of Puerto Rico seek to recover, they are important for cleanliness.”

In the end, after about 90 minutes, the take was more than $4,826 in donations at the store and via Facebook to cover the groceries – at $3,198 – and the shipping cost for some half-dozen bulging carts of groceries. They will be sent via the South Orange UPS Store to a Florida site where collections are being made for further shipping to the devastated island.

“I want to personally thank each and every Maplewoodian and South Orange resident for their generosity from pledging to physically donated items as well as money,” McGehee said later. “I also would like to recognize the wonderful staff at Stop & Shop for their assistance. We are so humbled by the response of our great residents.”

The supplies were added into more donations made at the Hot Hot Hot Event Sunday celebrating South Orange’s designation by New Jersey Monthly as the “hottest” town in New Jersey.

Collum said the balance of $1,628 in donations was going to be spent on shipping costs. But then she heard from Temple Sharey-Tafilo of South Orange that they would pick up the tab to transport the items to the Caribbean.

Now Collum plans to spend the remaining funds on more supplies during a Costco visit this week.

“I'm so blown away by everyone's generosity!” Collum wrote on Facebook. “I told Frank McGehee in advance this could be a hit or miss opportunity and guess what? South Orange and Maplewood - we hit it out of the park and I'm just feeling overwhelmed and blessed to live in this community of incredibly generous and caring people.”

She added that all contributors would receive detailed receipts of their contributions and other specifics on what was raised and how.

Those wishing to further donate cash or supplies can do so at the South Orange UPS Store, 4 South Orange Ave.; or the South Orange Frame Shop, 6 Sloan St.

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of TAPinto.net or anyone who works for TAPinto.net. TAPinto.net is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

SOMA

Columbia High School Principal's Removal Raises More Questions Than It Answers

The last Twitter post from Columbia High School principal Elizabeth Aaron is very telling. 

The four-year CHS schools chief, who was recently, surprisingly, reassigned to a vague “Principal on Special Assignment” post by the school district, was a Twitter regular on her @CougarPrincipal account. There she would often promote the school’s successes and notable staff and ...

Maplewood Police Blotter - Two Robberies Reported on July 5

July 15, 2018

July 2 - Motor Vehicle Theft; Sometime over the previous two days, a U-Haul truck was stolen from a business on Newark Way.

July 4 - Theft from Auto; During the overnight hours an unsecured vehicle parked on Elberta Rd was entered and keys were stolen from it.

July 5 - Robberies; At approximately 1:30 a.m., a male was assaulted by two males ridding bicycles while he was walking on ...

Free 'Movies in the Park' on July 18 and August 23 in Maplewood

July 16, 2018

MAPLEWOOD, NJ - Free "Movies in the Park" are planned for Wednesday, July 18, and Thursday, August 23, a program hosted by the Maplewood Police Department in conjunction with the Maplewood Recreation Department, the Maplewood Office of Cultural Affairs, SOMA Film Festival and SOMA Municipal Alliance.

The movie on July 18 will be The Incredibles, shown in Dehart Park, ...

National Weather Service Issues Heat Advisory Through 6 p.m. Tuesday, July 17

NEW YORK, NY, - The National Weather Service issued a 'Heat Advisory' this morning for Bergen, Passaic, Essex, Union and Hudson Counties in New Jersey. The heat advisory will remain in effect from noon Monday July 16, until 6 p.m. Tuesday July 17.

Extreme heat can cause illness and death among at- risk population who cannot stay cool. The heat and humidity may cause heat stress during ...

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_b20a8250917845925251_mini_magick20180715-93558-18g5bx1

Tue, July 17, 5:00 PM

Caldwell University Alumni Theater, Caldwell

Public Invited to Essex County Opioid Use ...

Health & Wellness

Carousel_image_7611ce284a8c86d65b64_37d34f9a-c5cd-4fb1-8bf8-b5b7319cb94e

Wed, July 18, 10:00 AM

Paterson Board of Education , Paterson

Teacher Job Fair in Paterson

Education

Carousel_image_982bc8344531b1a37c85_par_440

Fri, July 20, 7:00 PM

Par 440 Restaurant & Lounge, Short Hills

The Extra Rich In Class Dinner Show with E.R.I.C.

Arts & Entertainment Food & Drink

Carousel_image_af1b89eae735bf536426_par440_promo

Fri, July 20, 7:00 PM

Par 440 Restaurant & Lounge, Short Hills

The Extra Rich In Class Dinner Show with E.R.I.C.

Arts & Entertainment Food & Drink

Statement From Emergency Committee to Reinstate Principal Aaron

July 10, 2018

** TUESDAY RALLY IS CANCELLED **

We created a movement. We leveraged our collective 1,600 voices and forced the District leadership to sit with us today [Monday] and discuss the poorly communicated, weekend announcement that CHS Principal Elizabeth Aaron was being reassigned.

Our meeting was a first step in both accountability and transparency as Dr. Ficarra revealed Principal ...

Coalition on Race Responds to Changes in School District Administrators

The Board of Trustees of the Community Coalition on Race seeks racial equity, integration, and excellence in education for all students in our schools. While the pace of change has been frustratingly slow, we have seen some progress. Yet, candidly, there are too many students of color who are not well served in SOMA, who still experience segregated classrooms and who still suffer from racial ...

Lawmakers Denounce SCOTUS Nomination at Essex County Courthouse

July 17, 2018

NEWARK, NJ - State Assemblywoman Eliana Pintor Marin said it was important to support local women’s health organizations at a state level should President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court justice nominee be approved.

The assemblywoman joined state Sen. Teresa Ruiz, congressional leaders and women's rights groups yesterday at the steps of the Essex County Courthouse ...

3rd Annual Newark International Film Festival Accepting Submissions

NEWARK, NJ - Three days filled with celebrity guests and showcases from both local and international filmmakers are coming to the city in September.

The third annual Newark International Film Festival will return Sept. 6 and run through Sept. 9, 2018. The festival has grown each year since it was first created, with the city last year hosting 10,000 attendees seeing films across ...

NJ Residents Take Action Against White Supremacist Fliers Found Around Bridgewater, Bedminster, Other Local Areas

July 17, 2018

BRIDGEWATER, NJ - Residents of Bridgewater, Somerville, Morristown and surrounding communities are mobilizing for action after they found posters around town promoting Identity Evropa, which the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has labeled a white supremacist group.

According to Bridgewater resident Stacey Friedlander, a member of the “Not In Our Town – Bridgewater/Raritan” ...

Union Police Pursuit Ends in Crash in Irvington

NEWARK, NJ – Union police were involved in an early morning vehicle pursuit that ended in a crash and serious injuries to two juveniles in Irvington on Monday.

According to Acting Essex County Prosecutor Robert D. Laurino, the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office is in the early stages of investigating the police pursuit that has resulted in two juveniles sustaining serious ...

New Plumber Joins the Woolley Home Solutions Team

July 16, 2018

We are excited to announce a new addition to the Woolley team! Our new plumber, Oscar Buonafina, is an expert plumber with nearly a decade of industry experience serving New Jersey homeowners. He is also a NJ Master Plumber Since 2007. As a military veteran, Oscar truly understands hard work and commitment, and we’re so happy to bring him on board!

"I believe in service to people ...

Maplewood Brings Local Youth to the Governing Table With the Youth Advisory Committee

The Maplewood Township Committee cordially invites diverse student residents of Maplewood who are enrolled in private or public school in grades 8 through 12 to apply to serve on its new Youth Advisory Committee.  In order to continue empowering local youth whose recent advocacy on - gun safety, safe schools, voting rights, immigration, greater institutional equity and inclusion, to name a ...

Repairs to Boyden Avenue Between Elmwood Avenue and Springfield Avenue

On Monday, July 16, road repairs to the south side of Boyden Avenue between Elmwood Avenue and Springfield Avenue will take place for approximately one week pending weather conditions. There will be access to the pool parking lot for pool members and NJ Transit employees. Signage and police officers will be present to direct traffic.