Hometown Heroes: Community Comes Together to supply items to healthcare workers


Matthew Levine

As musician Frank Turner says, “In a world that has decided to lose its mind, be more kind,” and the Scotch Plains-Fanwood community has done exactly that. While the COVID-19 pandemic is brutally affecting communities nationwide, SPF has come together to deliver daily meals to healthcare workers on the front lines. 
Soon after the coronavirus hit Union County, local residents Laurie Gallahue and Carol Moore Zimmerman began communicating through Facebook about ways they could help healthcare workers. 

“In what started as comments exchanged between myself and Carol Moore Zimmerman, who I have never met and cannot wait to, as an effort to support local businesses and thank our heroes on the front line, has grown into more than what we could have expected,” Gallahue said. 

To this point, Gallahue and Zimmerman have raised $7,248. They have received donations by members throughout the community in an effort to supply Overlook Medical Center and Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital l with daily lunch and dinner. 
After seeing this on Facebook, Scotch Plains Fanwood High School PTA president, Maggie Savoca began to take donations for daily breakfast runs. 

“I had seen that some groups in our area we’re doing lunch and dinners, but nobody seemed to be doing breakfast, so my focus is to do breakfast,” Savoca said. “To date, I’ve collected almost $6,000, exactly $5,991.”  

Between the efforts by Savoca, Gallahue, and Zimmerman, meals have been placed for healthcare workers through April 25th. 
Savoca uses the donations to purchase breakfast, coffee, and other grab-and-go items that the overnight staff can use. Savoca also leaves her phone number with the hospital staff in case they need additional items or want to reach out, and she has received messages of appreciation. 

“I am quarantined from my kids right now so I’m working on my daughter’s eighth birthday,” A healthcare worker at Overlook hospital wrote to Savoca. “This really is making a hard day a little easier.” 

Recently, Savoca also began the SPF Front Line Appreciation Group on Facebook – a group dedicated to supplying items of need for healthcare workers. Savoca wants to work with Gallahue and Zimmerman in the hopes of producing greater results. 

 “I think there are two people [Gallahue and Zimmeran] in town,” Savoca said. “They’re doing lunch and dinners. I’d like to see if we could, the three of us, work together and have the FLAG group be the place where the community can support the effort.”

With that said, Savoca hopes that members of other communities begin to do the same. 

“If everybody does what they can whether they give $10 or $1000 or start their own chapter in another town, we’ll get through this together,” Savoca said. “I encourage people to contribute where they can.”