SOMERVILLE, NJ - The orange glow began to settle in over neighborhoods in the "Ville around twilight Friday as porch lights, carriage lamps and strings of lights up and down the streets were switched on to signal support for those on the front lines of the coronavirus battle -
The "Let's Turn Somerville Orange" celebration acknowledged the bravery and sacrifices of the medical staff at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital/Somerset and borough's first responders - police, fire, and rescue squad.
The hospital, which fronts on Rehill Avenue, installed orange floodlights along the facade of the building.
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 a few weeks ago.
"Everybody seems to be into it, so let's see how far it goes," Barry said last week.
Orange and black are the colors associated with the borough and are the official colors of Somerville High School.
Barry got the go-ahead from local officials, and reached out to 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.
Barry and Temple made arrangements with the Post Hardware store on Route 22, where orange L.E.D. were bought out and re-stocked; $1 from each bulb sold will be 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."
Residents have been lighting up their streets for a few weeks already, culminating with Friday night's display.