SOMERVILLE, NJ - The Frontline Appreciation Group of Somerville has made its final delivery of food to the medical staff at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital/Somerset after three months of supporting not only the hospital workers, but area restaurants whose businesses have been impacted by closure orders from Gov. Phil Murphy, which are being partially lifted on June 15.

Shawn Temple, a borough resident and teacher at Somerville High School, organized the effort and it quickly captured the spirit of the community, all of whom wanted to do something to demonstrate their appreciation and support for not only the hospital workers, but others on the front lines of the COVID-19 battle - first responders, ambulance crews, police and others.

FLAG raised over $37,000, money which was spent to purchase meals from area restaurants whose incomes were cut drastically when the governor shut down much of the state's non-essential businesses at the height of the pandemic in New Jersey, which has claimed the lives of nearly 12,000 in the state.

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Temple posted the following message on Facebook Thursday:

As we deliver our last meals, I would be remiss if I didn’t share my thoughts on this amazing group of supporters. I am humbled to work and to live in such a generous and gracious community. As I began this organization, I was concerned that we might not have the financial backing to support the hospital for very long.

But I was very wrong.

We had student groups, community groups, individuals, and private companies come out to support our heroes. At the height of the pandemic, the hospital had 175 COVID patients. Today, there are 13. This community gave so much to the restaurants and to the staff of RWJBH Somerset. Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart for helping me fill the need and I am grateful for your continuous support through this trying time. May you all stay healthy and safe. Please accept my sincerest thank you.

Our final totals were:

Total donations and total given to restaurants = $37,124.25

Meals served to Front line = 5,357 (at minimum)

230 individual donations on PayPal

85 donations on Sign Up Genius from individuals, groups, and families.

We still have fundraisers from the orange light bulbs and Post Ace Hardware and Prima Pizza T-Shirts, so that final total will increase.

This picture was taken this morning. I was so honored to meet many of the leaders of RWJBH Somerset today. They took the time to thank the organization for our efforts. They were so appreciative and said to thank every single one of you. You made this happen and I am so honored that they took the time to say thank you.

In this picture: Tony Cava, President and CEO, George Jonkoski, Director of Food and Nutrition Services/Diabetes Center, Donna Castronovo, Vice President Foundation, Dr. Salvatore Moffa, Chief Medical Officer, Patrick Delaney, Vice President of Operations, John DiLeo, Vice President of Finance, and Kathleen Roberts, Director of Public Relations and Marketing.

Thank you to the hospital staff, especially George for being so helpful and patient during this time. You were all a pleasure to work with and I am honored to have been able to assist you during this challenging time.

Thank you to the wonderful restaurants in Somerville, Branchburg, Bridgewater, Raritan, South Bound Brook, Pluckemin, New Providence, Woodbridge, Hillsborough, and Flemington who supported our efforts. We hope that we were able to help you as well. We look forward to continuing to support and to patronize your great businesses.

Thank you ALL!