Group born in N.J. to support coronavirus workers hits $1M milestone, April 16, 2020

A grass roots group, created by two New Jersey women to feed front line workers and help restaurants that have lost business during the coronavirus crisis has hit two milestones — it now has more than 80 chapters nationwide and has raised more than $1 million in donations.

The Front Line Appreciation Group was born in Chatham and Madison in mid-March as a way to feed and show support for front line workers at Morristown Memorial hospital and has blossomed across the nation with chapters as far away as Hawaii.

“We’re definitely still past $1million and have 83 chapters across 24 states as of now,” said Liz McGuire of Chatham, who co-founded the group with Gina McGuire of Madison. “Hitting the $1 million mark was incredibly moving for us — it’s an amazing show of support for local businesses and front line workers.”

Of the 83 chapters, 32 of them are in New Jersey. Just over the weekend six new chapters were formed in Indiana, Texas and Kansas. The FLAG website has instructions how to set up similar groups.

The FLAG idea is a simple one — feed doctors, nurses, cops, EMS and other workers battling the coronavirus, and help devastated local restaurants, while giving people sheltering-in-place at home a way to help during the crisis.

Of the $1 million donated so far, over $366,000 has been paid to local restaurants around the country as of the weekend, to serve 50,000 meals for the front lines.

FLAG is one of four organizations selected by law firm Calcagni & Kanefsky of Newark that pledged 5% of its revenue earned during April to support non-profit organizations. An exact amount of the donation won’t be known until after the end of the month.

“CK’s support is critical to a grassroots organization like ours, and we are humbled to partner with them,” McGuire said.

— Larry Higgs | NJ Advance Media for