The constant noise of sirens, day and night, was never ending throughout Union County community. COVID-19 was spreading quickly in Linden, Elizabeth, and other towns throughout the county. The Linden Education Association (LEA) knew it needed to be part of the solution of saving lives and combating the spread.

“Trinitas Hospital is a major hospital system in Union County that serves many Elizabeth, Linden, and Rahway residents,” said Eloy Delgado, President of the Linden Education Association. “By the end of March, they were conducting a major fundraiser in order to purchase Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Once we knew we were able to repurpose our PRIDE funds, we immediately donated $1000 helping them surpass their fundraising goal. We felt really good about this, it was the first step in the right direction.”

Another major hospital in the country that serves many in the community is Rahway Hospital. In order to better care for COVID-19 patients, they were looking for baby monitor donations. The Association quickly arranged for $1000 worth of baby monitors to be delivered to the hospital, so that patients could speak to their loved ones without infecting their families.

During this time, financial strain has been and continues to directly impact organizations that provide critical services to the community. The Elizabeth Coalition to House the Homeless is an organization that provides housing support for many residents of Union County. During the Spring months, they typically have major fundraisers that help propel their organization’s project budgets forward. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, they had to cancel their major fundraising events, but could not cancel their need, while unfulfilled services increased at an exponential rate. The LEA immediately rolled up its collective sleeves and was able to contribute $1000 to their fundraiser helping meet their $20,000 goal.

In the City of Linden, burdened with record breaking unemployment, food insecurity is a growing concern in our community. The LEA immediately sprung into action by partnering with the City of Linden and supporting their COVID-19 Emergency Food Relief Fund with a donation of $1000. Moreover, the LEA reached out to LINCS, which is the food shelter in town, and supported them with a donation of $1000.  These two donations helped provide food for many residents of the Linden community.

To round off their donations, the LEA collaborated with the Linden Police and Firefighters’ union and contributed $1500 to help get shirts for the graduating class of 2020. These students have had everything in their lives disrupted by COVID-19. The shirts are another way the LEA’s is providing some relief from the tragedy of the last three months.

“Jan Flanagan, the Linden Education Association’s PRIDE Chair, is a Wonder Woman!,” said Delgado. “If it wasn’t for her tenacity and good heart, in applying for the PRIDE grants, we would not have been able to help as many in our community as we did. Thank you, Jan!”

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