Aiming to bring together restaurants that need business and healthcare workers who need to eat, Cindy Miller has formed the Lawrence chapter of the Front Line Appreciation Group (FLAG).
FLAG/Ladies of Lawrenceville raises money to buy meals from Lawrence Township restaurants and makes sure the food goes to the doctors and nurses – the frontline workers – at Mercer County hospitals.
The group has provided meals to healthcare workers at Capital Health Regional Medical Center in Trenton, Capital Health Medical Center in Hopewell Township, St. Francis Medical Center in Trenton and the Penn Medicine Princeton Medical Center at Plainsboro.
Miller set out to ask for donations from the Ladies of Lawrenceville Facebook group to buy bagels from a local business that was being affected by the statewide stay-at-home order, and to give the bagels to the healthcare workers.
The idea to raise money to buy meals for healthcare workers caught on, and Miller raised more than $6,500 in the first couple of weeks.
Miller spent more than $4,500 to buy food from local restaurants, propping up their bottom line, and delivered the meals to the front line workers in the battle against COVID-19.
“The donations from our town were overwhelming. I definitely needed to find more businesses to supply the meals,” Miller said.
That’s when Miller was approached by the administrator of the FLAG/Hamilton Township chapter. She explained the concept behind FLAG, which was created by two women who live in Chatham and Madison.
Liz Bernich, the Chatham resident and one of the two organizers, said she learned that a group had formed in her hometown on Long Island to support the local hospital and restaurants, according to information posted on FLAG’s website.
“(The administrator of FLAG/Hamilton Township) asked me if I would like to start a local chapter. Without hesitating, I agreed,” Miller said. She named the chapter FLAG/Ladies of Lawrenceville, and has continued to raise money.
FLAG/Ladies of Lawrenceville has made sure that the healthcare workers, police officers, firefighters and emergency medical technicians who are battling the disease are being fed so they can fight some more.
To date, FLAG/Ladies of Lawrenceville has raised more than $7,600 and spent almost $5,900 to feed nearly 1,000 emergency personnel and healthcare workers, Miller said.
The group has provided meals from Udo’s, Vidalia, Chamber’s Walk, Amalfi’s Kitchen and Bar, Enzo’s, Chuckles/Candela, Fedora, Tastee Subs and Leonardo II’s restaurants, she said.
“Those donations have changed the lives of these healthcare workers, as well as businesses in our town. It has also brought hope to our community during these difficult times,” Miller said.
FLAG/Ladies of Lawrenceville is accepting donations to help fund the effort. Donations can be made to Miller at her Venmo account at timcintay1 or Paypal.me.Cindy6971.