VERONA, NJ - Being on the front lines of the Coronavirus infection is a never-ending battle for those working in our local hospitals. Many homebound residents are wondering how to help these heroes. So, knowing that medical workers were in need of more than just supplies, Verona resident Kate Fuller Curren thought of a way to help shuttered local businesses and raise the morale of doctors, nurses and other healthcare providers. She raised money from residents, and purchased food from local restaurants to deliver to hospital workers at Mountainside and St. Barnabas. “In the first week, we raised over $6,200 and purchased food from Blue Hippo, Grimaldi’s and Eight Hills/Lakeside,” she said. 

Steve Neale, Director of Administration and Economic Development in Verona, helped coordinate the restaurants, and along with Kate, delivered lunch to Mountainside’s satellite location in Verona where pediatric residents are housed. “Part of my role with the Township is dealing with the local businesses and non-profits in town on a regular basis and being their point of contact with the Township. Over the past couple years I have developed a very good relationship with the business community and the restaurants. We, the Township, also saw this as a great opportunity to help support our local businesses while helping those on the front lines at the hospitals,” said Neale. 

At the end of last week, Curren and Neale stepped up the fundraiser and delivered over 500 meals to St. Barnabas from eight different Verona businesses: The Guac Spot, Frank Anthony’s, ChiQueen, Miele’s, The Thai Elephant, Empanada Lady, Avenue Bistro, and Tia’s Food of Love. 

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“I think that it is important for local businesses and their communities to work together and provide support for people that we rely on such as healthcare professionals, police, fire, EMS, and all first responders,” said Frank Anthony’s owner Nicholas Wright. “It helps to create a strong sense of unity between small business and the local community. And I think that working together to raise funds to put back into our local economy, while supporting the people battling this crisis on the front lines, really shows small business owners like myself that our communities have our back!”

Neale agrees. “Our residents always step up when called upon and the response has been an amazing thing to witness over the past few weeks. [Last week’s] food drop-off was a huge effort and the restaurants were fully on board and ready to help.”

If you would like to donate to the fund, you can Venmo a donation amount of your choice to @Kate-FullerCurren.

“It’s a win-win, supporting our local economy and feeding healthcare workers,” Curren said.

TAPinto Verona/Cedar Grove  is an online newspaper serving the Townships of Verona and Cedar Grove. TAPinto Verona/Cedar Grove is accredited by the New Jersey Press Association, and is a locally owned news organization serving the community.

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