SOMERVILLE, NJ - Members of the Somerville Education Association are not only working hard to teach their students in a remote learning environment, but they are also giving back to their community to ensure all students and their families continue to have enough to eat.

Using a grant from the New Jersey Education Association’s PRIDE in Public Education program, the SEA has donated $4,000 to area organizations to support their efforts.

“Once Pat Frain, our SEA president, and I got notified that Pride funding would be available for Covid-19 events, we agreed that this would be the perfect opportunity to use the NJEA/Pride in Public School funding as a way for our members, who are fully occupied with work and family, to give back to local essential workers and support the families of our Somerville community.,” said Theresa Trubiano. SEA PRIDE chairperson.

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“After attending a PRIDE virtual training session on how to reallocate and apply for new funding and applying,' she added, "we were thrilled to find the three grants approved in support of our great local charities; FLAG, SHIP, and the Food Bank of Somerset County.”

The first organization to receive a donation was Front Line Appreciation Group (FLAG)-Somerville. FLAG-Somerville is a non-profit group started by the SEA member and Somerville High School English teacher Dr. Shawn Temple.She wanted to give back to the community by helping everyone in it.

Through FLAG-Somerville, Temple has been using donated funds to purchase meals from Somerville restaurants and coordinating with the Robert Wood Johnson Hospital in Somerville to ensure that all hospital departments and volunteer ambulance crews who bring in patients are provided with a meal.

“I am very fortunate to teach and live in such a caring community.,” said Temple. “The people of Somerville and its neighboring towns have come together to support front line heroes and local businesses during this difficult time. I am grateful for the support of my colleagues in these endeavors. We as educators recognize how important our work is both inside of the classroom and within our community. Thank you for your generosity.”

To date, Temple has provided 4,143 meals paid for with donations from the community totaling $34,050 while helping the local restaurant economy.

The SEA also donated $500 to the Somerset County Food Bank. The mission of the Food Bank Network is to distribute food and to provide other basic human needs to those less fortunate in our community in a manner which recognizes and advances self-worth and human dignity. Its method of distributing this food is through three food pantries, located in Somerville, Bound Brook and North Plainfield, with a storage warehouse located in Bridgewater.

Finally, the SEA donated $500 to the Samaritan Homeless Interim Program (SHIP). The vast majority of all the food items used to feed the low income and needy throughout the community via its anti-hunger programs are donated. Volunteers from faith communities, organizations, clubs, corporations and individuals also help prepare and serve the meals.

“I am so proud that the SEA can be a small part in creating a warm, educating and giving environment in our community,” said Patrick Frain, SEA president.  “As we often have said, we are “all in” when it comes to our school and this community. With these donations, we continue to strive for a better vision for the “Ville.”