New Jersey nonprofit organization 5Help.org, which was created by teenagers Drew and Heather Paglia of Millstone Township to help others by raising funds $5 at a time, has partnered with the New Jersey EMS Task Force to increase donations to the statewide organization on the front line in the battle against COVID-19.
As of now, 5Help.org will earmark part of its fundraising efforts for the task force, a nonprofit organization that represents more than 200 career and volunteer EMS providers throughout the state, according to a press release.
The EMS providers are trained in various disciplines of emergency medical services to respond to large-scale man-made and natural disasters as well as pre-planned events, according to the press release.
“We want to help,” said Drew, 16, who will be a junior at the Lawrenceville School, Lawrenceville. “We know how hard the members of the New Jersey EMS Task Force work to keep us all safe. Money we raise can help purchase personal protective gear to keep them safe and to help local businesses by supplying meals to those working on the front line.”
“This is why we created 5Help.org,” said Heather, 13, who will be an eighth-grader at the Hun School, Princetown. “They are there day and night helping others. Let’s help them.”
“Drew and Heather are simply amazing,” said Mike Bascom, president of the New Jersey EMS Task Force. “They noticed a problem, they reacted and they created a system that makes it easy for others to help.
“We are proud of them and excited to partner with them in raising funds to help the men and women who are responding to emergencies throughout the state around the clock,” he said.
5Help.org was formed by the Paglia family – Drew, Heather, and mom, Cindy, and dad, Andy – at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic when they saw local businesses struggling near their Monmouth County home, according to the press release.
The Paglias knew they needed to help and came up with the idea to ask people to donate $5 – they could also donate more – to be used to purchase meals and gift cards to local restaurants and businesses.
In turn, those gift cards were donated to first responders and hospitals to purchase meals. By letting people know they could help with as little as $5 they activated younger people and have raised more than $25,000, according to the press release.
Anyone can donate to 5Help.org via Venmo at @FiveHelp-Team and through a secure link at 5help.org. For more information about 5Help.org, email firstname.lastname@example.org
The task force was activated in March as part of the state’s effort to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. Working with local, state and national health, law enforcement and Office of Emergency Management teams, members have provided administrative and logistics support at mobile COVID-19 testing sites, deployed Western Shelter tent facilities at 20 hospitals, placed oxygen generators at various facilities, and coordinated the deployment of its medical ambulance bus fleet to transport COVID-19 positive patients from long-term care facilities and hospitals, according to the press release.
The team is also staffing regional temporary morgue sites, the deployment of out-of-state Federal Emergency Management Agency ambulance teams, working to obtain and distribute personal protective equipment and coordinating state EMS needs.
The task force was was formed after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks as a way to better prepare New Jersey’s preparations and responses to large-scale events, according to the press release.
Follow the task force on Facebook, on Twitter and online at www.njemstf.org
Follow 5Help.org on Facebook, Instagram and online at www.5help.org