I hope this message finds you and your family healthy and safe. I recognize that this is a trying time for our community and our nation, and I am very proud of how Summit residents have risen to the occasion. I urge all residents to continue their efforts to observe the stay-at-home order and to take care of one another.
I am happy to report that several of our City facilities are reopening. Our Transfer Station is now open by appointment on Tuesdays and Fridays and we hope to add more appointments as we go along. The Municipal Golf Course opened this past week with tee times by appointment and masks required. The Memorial Field tennis courts will open on Monday by appointment and with physical distancing restrictions in place. Finally, our beloved Farmers’ Market opened this Sunday with modifications to ensure the safety of shoppers and vendors. While it will not be the usual social scene at the market, residents will be able to purchase fresh food while supporting the vendors.
Our staff at the Department of Community Programs and the Summit Free Public Library are working hard to provide new services to the public. Both are providing innovative virtual programs. For example, you can find free fitness classes and the digital Memorial Day Parade at the Department of Community Programs, while the library offers mask-sewing classes and virtual storytime. The library is also running a “phone a librarian” service to provide residents with help in many areas including research and access to services.
In my last letter, I provided information about volunteer opportunities and some of the many ways that residents can help. Not surprisingly, since that letter was posted, there are even more efforts underway. The number of people needing food assistance has increased tremendously and GRACE, which runs a food pantry every Tuesday at 5:00 p.m. at Memorial Field’s Cornog Field House, is now serving over 2,000 of our fellow residents each week. GRACE was featured in a recent article in the New York Times. Donations to GRACE can be made through the Junior League of Summit (please designate GRACE in the drop-down menu). In addition, Summit’s Department of Community Programs is running a program to collect donations of food, toiletries, and cleaning supplies for GRACE and sports equipment for Leveling the Playing Field. You can find their flyer on the Department of Community Programs’ website.
A new group, SHIELD (Society Helping Our Infirm and ELDerly) of Summit, is a volunteer organization committed to keeping our older and infirm neighbors safe, healthy and happy. They organize shoppers to deliver groceries and prescriptions to those who need assistance. SHIELD worked with The Community Food Bank and Summit’s own Other Fellow First Foundation to help SAGE come up with a backup plan when the regional Meals on Wheels’ kitchen shut down, leaving more than 100 seniors in our community without meals. Watch this video to learn more.
The Other Fellow First Foundation is continuing its fundraising efforts for the Summit Volunteer First Aid Squad, SAGE, SHIP, Loaves and Fishes and GRACE through its “Keeping UNITY in the Summit CommUNITY” campaign.
The Front Steps Project has been a popular way to have family photos taken to commemorate this unusual time and drive donations to the Foundation. The Foundation is now launching a Virtual Family Talent Show as its next fundraiser. No doubt Summit’s families will showcase their creativity for a good cause!
Bridges Outreach was founded in Summit and serves the homeless populations of Summit, Irvington, and Newark. They are continuing their outreach to these vulnerable people and need donations to continue their work.
A new Facebook group, Summit Volunteer Hub, has formed recently to connect organizations in Summit with willing volunteers and donors. Already it has over 450 members eager to serve our community.
You can get more information on all these topics by visiting the City’s Facebook page and TAPIntoSummit.
Wishing you all the best,
Marjorie Fox, President - Summit Common Council