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NJ Community Feeds Hundreds Of Health Care Workers, First Responders Through Charity Barbecue

PARK RIDGE, N.J. (CBSNewYork) -- A New Jersey community is showing love and support for its first responders.

Some were up all night preparing a barbecue for charity.

It was a day of giving in Park Ridge.

Fresh wood was placed into a hot fire pit, where fresh food was prepared for COVID-19 front line workers.

Maintaining a safe distance, dozens of volunteers went to work, cooking and cutting hundreds of pizzas and barbecuing close to 1,000 pounds of pulled pork and grilled chicken.

They then put all the meals into boxes to feed 1,500 health care employees and first responders.


Steven Rich organized the event to support those fighting to save others.

"It's our way of saying thank you," Rich told CBS2's Cory James. "They're a lot braver than me."

It all started Friday night with volunteers preparing the fire pits.

Volunteers, like Elyssa Lovett, came together for one cause.

This mission hit home for Lovett because her brother was on a ventilator and nearly died from the virus.

"He's my big brother. He's a 400-pound man who's always been stronger than everybody. It's five weeks later and he's still laying in a bed and eating applesauce," she said.

As she ran pizzas from the oven, local heroes started lining up in cars to get food.

Some were even loaded into volunteer vehicles and delivered to nearby hospitals.

CORONAVIRUS: NY Health Dept. | NY Call 1-(888)-364-3065 | NYC Health Dept. | NYC Call 311, Text COVID to 692692 | NJ Health Dept. | NJ Call 1-(800)-222-1222 or 211, Text NJCOVID to 898211 | CT Health Dept. | CT Call 211

"It makes me feel good. I think people take for granted sometimes what they have right around the corner from them," firefighter Robert Paller said.

An outpouring of support that shows no matter where you are in the country, people from all over are uniting as one to help.

"It's been a trying time but I'm very proud of our community," Park Ridge Mayor Keith Misciagna said.

A message that did not go missed.

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