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NJ woman's Facebook post helps spark movement to feed health workers on coronavirus front lines

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A New Jersey woman who began raising money to buy meals for medical workers during the coronavirus pandemic on her Facebook page has now amassed over $78,000.

"We're feeding you for the next month," Liz Bernich said she told various medical facilities near her home in Chatham, N.J.

Bernich said she got the idea from her "best hometown friend" in Huntington, N.Y., who posted about a woman living there, Teresa Sullivan, who had inspired her community to support local businesses and feed health-care workers.

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“I thought it was a great idea,” the mother of two told NorthJersey.com. On March 19, Bernich, who works as an executive recruiter, posted on her Facebook page asking her friends to contribute money via Venmo to help their community do the same.

The next morning she awoke to $800 in her account. That evening she and her husband delivered 50 meals from a local deli to Morristown Medical Center.

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As of Tuesday, her group FLAG, First Line Appreciation Group of Chatham and Madison, has raised $78,000 in donations to provide medical workers at three different care centers with meals. The idea of FLAG has now been picked up by 20 other communities across the country.

"It's wild," Bernich said. "People have just been pitching in, wanting to help."

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One friend raised $1,200 for the fund by auctioning wine from his cellar. One family donated 40 snack packs, filled with cans of Starbucks espresso, peanuts, Oreo cookies and granola bars.