SOMERVILLE, NJ - Orange you glad to live in Somerville?

If so, you'll want to show your pride in the 'Ville and join in the May 15th "Let's Turn Somerville Orange" celebration to show support for the borough's first responders - police, fire, and rescue squad, as well as the medical personnel on the front lines of the battle against the COVID-19 pandemic.

Jim Barry, president of the First Aid and Rescue Squad of Somerville, came up with the idea for the fundraiser when that proverbial light bulb above his head clicked on while he was sitting on his back porch.

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His idea is simple enough - buy an orange light bulb, maybe more, to help light up the town May 15th to show support for the front line heroes.

"Everybody seems to be into it, so let's see how far it goes," Barry said.

Orange and black are the colors associated with the borough and are the official colors of Somerville High School. 

Barry started making calls to local officials, all of whom signaled their support, and then connected with Shawn Temple, the co-founder of FLAG of Somerville (Front Line Appreciation Group), which over the past two months has raised $32,365 in donations to purchase 3,703 meals from local restaurants which have been donated to health care workers at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital/Somerset as well as first responders.

The Borough Council at its virtual meeting Monday passed a resolution in support of "Let's Turn Somerville Orange."

Barry and Temple made arrangements with the Post Hardware store on Route 22, where orange L.E.D. light bulbs can be purchased for $4.99, with $1 of the purchase price donated to FLAG.

"I love the light idea because it's visual and can help rally support for all of our first responders," Temple said. "People want to show their support and this is a way to do that."

The orange light bulbs have already begun to light up the neighborhoods throughout town.

"It's so exciting to watch each night," Temple said as more and more homeowners screw in the orange bulbs on their front porch, carriage lamps and indoor table lamps in their front windows.

FLAG hosted a virtual concert online a few weeks ago featuring Somerville guitarist Dan Dedrick, who performed for over two hours, interspersing requests with songs on his set list; when it was over, he had raised $1,660.

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