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Rahway EA honors frontline workers using PRIDE grant

By Michael Clark, Rahway Education Association

The NJEA’s PRIDE in Public Education grants help local associations serve and support their communities. This week, Rahway Education Association (REA) members used these grants to show community support for the city’s frontline workers.

“With so much uncertainty in the world, it’s more important now than ever for schools, residents and the community to help others and stand united,” said Alan Johnson, principal of Rahway Academy

On Monday, April 27th, Johnson’s 7th and 8th Grade Academy launched Operation Healthcare Workers. While the halls of the Academy are empty during statewide school closures, across Madison Avenue sits Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital at the frontline of the COVID-19 pandemic. Using funds raised by the school community and an NJEA PRIDE grant, staff members provided meals and letters of support from students to hospital workers.

“We teach our students to do the right thing and be compassionate every single day, and this initiative exemplified the core values we encourage both inside and outside the classroom,” said Joe Sorrentino, event organizer and Academy history teacher. “Donating meals to our neighbors at the Rahway RWJ hospital is a small gesture of appreciation for their relentless efforts and shows that we’re all in this together.”

The Academy’s efforts were followed on Thursday afternoon by the Rahway Frontline Appreciation Group (FLAG), a community organization dedicated to supporting those helping the city respond to COVID-19.

On April 30th, funds from a PRIDE grant allowed the group and volunteers from the REA to deliver 85 meals to Alaris Health at Riverton, an assisted living facility near downtown Rahway.

These gestures are only the beginning. A second delivery to RWJ Rahway is planned for early May while FLAG of Rahway continues to raise funds and organize public support for its community and workers.

The REA stands with these efforts and will continue to support them in any way that it can.

The Association would also like to express its thanks to Mr. Subs (South Plainfield) and Plum Tomato Pizzeria (Rahway) for supplying meals to deserving healthcare workers.

Each day, we’re inspired by the countless efforts of associations across New Jersey and we could not be more proud of educators across our state. Let’s keep this up and remember: we’re in this together.