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By GWEN OREL
orel@montclairlocal.news

Montclair is showing its appreciation for the health workers, market workers, postal workers and others working hard to keep the country going during the coronavirus pandemic.

Tonight, Monday, March 30, a  “clap-out,” part of the #ClapBecauseWeCare movement, has been organized by Montclair resident Darryl Lammin. The 7 p.m. clap-outs have taken place around the world, in Italy, the U.K., and in American cities including New York and Boston.

March 30, Lammin writes on the Facebook page for the clap-out, is National Doctors’ day. She encourages people to cheer from their front doors, balconies, yards and living rooms, “to show all who are working on the front line our appreciation for their ongoing hard work/dedication and fight against this virus.

“Let’s hear it for all the medical staff, grocery store workers, carers, delivery drivers, garbage pickup workers, mail delivery and anyone else who’s putting their lives on the line during this pandemic.”

A group that “met” on the app Nextdoor Park Street joined #ClapBecauseWeCare this past Friday, March 27, writes Andreina Botto Roever. She and this group will clap every night at 7 p.m. for two minutes to cheer for those on the front lines.

Another way people can show their appreciation for front line workers is by feeding them.

Chefs Abraham Dickerson and James Desisto of Laboratorio Kitchen are offering meals to first responders on Mondays for free, and 50 free meals to the public on Thursdays beginning at 2 p.m.

A group of Montclair residents set up a GoFundMe Help Feed Our Healthcare Heroes to help feed staff and workers at Mountainside Hospital.

Montclair Kimberley Academy has donated 174 pairs of goggles, 700 N95 masks, and 90 boxes of gloves to the ICU at Mountainside Hospital, according to a Facebook post.

Montclair Design Week began a donation drive to collect PPE, and since March 22, has obtained more than 5,000 masks, more than 9,000 pairs of gloves, and has started a collaboration with Montclair State’s MIXlab to produce face shields. Donations are accepted at MADLAB Archictecture and Design, 7 Oak Place. For details call 973-744-2544, ext. 3, or visit bit.ly/ppedonationdrive

And Women for Progress, a nonprofit group founded in 2016, is raising money to buy food from local restaurants to deliver to hospitals. As of 9 p.m. on Friday, after just four days, they had raised more than $14,000, said founder and executive director Erin Chung.

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READ: COVID-19; SHOPPING SAFELY, WITH HELPING HANDS

READ: COVID-19; RED CROSS, NEW YORK BLOOD CENTER SEE MASSIVE SHORTAGE

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Members of the Montclair Ambulance Unit eat meals from Falafel Hut, provided by Women for Progress. COURTESY WOMEN FOR PROGRESS

The group also intends to feed Planned Parenthood, Chung says. Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan New Jersey’s clinic in Montclair is still open for women who need to be seen, and the healthcare workers there need to be fed as well.

Montclair resident, board member Karen Sacks proposed the idea to the organization. Sacks had been looking for ways to help the restaurants she frequented and heard about the idea of buying food from restaurants to donate to hospitals.
The response was large. Restaurants even offered to discount their food, but, Sacks said, the idea was for restaurants to have some income in order to keep on their staff as well.
The project began in Bergen County, and has expanded to Essex County. They have brought meals to the Montclair Ambulance Unit, Hackensack, and Clara Maas in Belleville.
“Today we are delivering 100 meals to nighttime workers from Mish Mish and Falafel Hut,” Sacks said. “Tomorrow, we will bring meals from Watchung Deli and Toast.”
Arizona Iced Tea is donating drinks, and Women for Progress has bought girl scout cookies from local troops for dessert.
The concept, Sacks said, is a ‘win win win.’ It helps the restaurants, it helps the hospital workers, and it helps the people who buy the food, too.
“People are so eager to do something other than sitting in their homes and watching the incredible heroes do their work,” she said.
“People who have donated have been thanking us for giving them a way to make a difference during this time.”