NJ.com: N.J. citizens answering the call with healthcare providers in need amid coronavirus crisis
Updated: Mar 27
With healthcare providers facing critical supply shortages, people across New Jersey are answering the call with donationsJacob Hamilton/MLive.com
The slip of paper that has gone along with every donation from the Hanover Chinese-American community in Morris County says everything about the response to adversity in the face of the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.
“Together we stand together against COVID-19.”
With hospitals and healthcare workers experiencing a shortage of personal protective equipment, local organizations and residents across New Jersey — including a reality TV star — have stepped up with donations to hospitals and businesses in need. That action went into effect almost immediately for members of the Hanover Chinese-American community. The community has already donated 5,000 face masks to Morristown Memorial Hospital, 300 to the town’s Office of Emergency Management and another 100 to the local CVS Pharmacy.
In its next step, the community — which has received donations from various townships in Morris and Essex County — is hoping to help out local businesses in need of personal protective equipment, known as PPE, including post office workers, local doctors’ offices and those in elderly communities.
Annie Ma poses with just some of the 5,000 masks that were donated to the Morristown Medical Center.Photo courtesy of Annie Ma“I’m even surprised how quickly this came about,” Annie Ma, a member of the Chinese-American community, said. “Instead of focusing on the panic and the illness, this has given us something very positive to focus on. It’s all consuming. When you’re arranging for these shipments and donations, this is a very big task that helps focus on the good.
“The founders always say that we’re not just raising donations but we’re trying to spread kindness and love throughout the community," she added. "That’s why we’re doing it and it’s 100 percent out of love.”
Donation coordination in Princeton That message has been the same in Princeton, where Daniel Farber Huang and his family, after the initial shock, got to work in directing where donations need to go.
It was Huang’s children, Christian, Alexander and Celeste, that truly got ShareSomeCare.com off its feet with the idea. Now the family has been coordinating with local businesses, such as nail salons and tattoo parlors, that are willing to donate their supplies to hospitals and healthcare workers in need.
ShareSomeCare.com provides information on 7,500 hospitals nationwide to give possible donors the data to make informed decisions about where to donate.
“One of the things that struck us was that there were so many first-line responders are overwhelmed with the situation," Daniel Farber Huang said. "Actually hearing hospitals reach out to the public for supplies was really, for lack of a better word, stunning."
“We need everyone to get through this together,” he said. "We’re seeing so many businesses put on hold or shuttered and we realized a lot of these businesses have inventory or supplies that we believed would be willing to donate to helping the people that are trying to address the issue.” Helping first responders, local eateries in Parsippany Chris Mazzarella simply had a thought this past Friday night. It turned into something bigger than he could have ever imagined.
The Parsippany resident had read about the struggles of local businesses and started a Facebook page in an attempt to connect those businesses both with first responders and those quarantined in their homes.
In less than a week Mazzarella, Ted Stanziale, Nick Kraus, Rob Zwigard and Tom Mastrangelo have raised nearly $7,000 and delivered 200 meals to six different organizations.
“I didn’t think it would take off this quickly," Mazzarella said. “All the guys and ladies involved, there’s so many volunteers. For it to raise this much money this quickly, I didn’t think it would go there. It quickly got to 200 or 300 people and, by Sunday, it was up to 1,500 people.”
On top of raising funds and providing meals for those in need, Mazzarella said that they’re tipping 20 percent gratuities to help keep those local restaurants afloat.
“It’s just a way to help them stay going, help our first responders keep going to pull together as a community," he said. "It shows you the spirit of the people in Parsippany and all of Morris County. A lot of people are out of work, so we’re not looking for $500. Five dollars helps. A dollar helps. I’m thankful for all the people that have helped and jumped right on board.” Sewing masks in Summit The tandem of Lacey Rzeszowski and Vicki Lederman in Summit have been helping the coordination of both sewing masks for healthcare providers and where those supplies may be most needed.
Dr. Robert Rubino of Summit wears a protective mask sewn by Vicki Lederman.Photo courtesy of Vicki LedermanWith several individual movements helping out through sewing, Rzeszowski and Lederman are seeking to try and unite the efforts for a more collaborative resolution.
As of now, the organization is able to produce at least 400 masks a week.
“Part of where the coordination between multiple groups is to find out how many masks have been made, if the need has been met at a specific place," Rzeszowski said. "We try to prioritize and get them to the hospitals with ERs first. We’ve also had nurses that had their masks taken for the medical staffs and are left without masks. There have been doctor’s offices that would like to have 50 staffs because their higher-quality masks were donated.” In Hunterdon County, Hunterdon Central superintendent Jeff Moore announced that the district had donated 1,600 masks and boxes of gloves to Hunterdon Healthcare. Hunterdon Medical Center also received 30 overnight bags from Pillowpak, a Clifton-based company that provides travel bags, for healthcare providers that may be forced to stay in the hospital overnight. JWoww steps it up Jenni “JWoww” Farley, one of the stars of the “Jersey Shore” reality TV show, has stepped up in donating as well.
In conjunction with Eat Clean Bro, a service that delivers healthy chef-prepared meals to homes, Farley donated 500 prepared meals to Hackensack Meridian Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune City.