By NICOLE GILLESPIE, Mayor of Moorestown
In this month’s Mayor’s Message, Moorestown Mayor Nicole Gillespie shares some of the ways Moorestonians are stepping up to help each other through the COVID-19 pandemic.
It’s astonishing how much has changed since I wrote my last Mayor’s Message in March. I’ve been keeping a list of topics to write about in these monthly columns, but none of them seem appropriate given what we’re currently facing. We’re worried about our loved ones, especially those we can’t visit because of social distancing. Some have already become ill with the virus, and the rest of us are worried about them and their families. We’re worried about further spread of the virus, about our jobs and businesses and the economy, about the impact on our schools and our students’ futures. All of this is valid. But in spite — maybe even because — of these things, I’m choosing to highlight some things happening in Moorestown that are cause for joy and gratitude.
As soon we started experiencing restrictions, several Moorestonians started forming “pods” to make sure everyone in their neighborhood was taken care of (to start one in your neighborhood, check out https://bit.ly/MoorestownPods.) Then another Moorestonian thought about our residents in long-term care and assisted living how difficult this isolation must be for them. She started the Moorestown Send-A-Smile project, safely collecting hundreds of cards from children and adults alike and delivering them to facilities throughout town. (Cards can be dropped off at the Moorestown Library or at 9 Sycamore Lane).
When a resident contacted the Moorestown Parks & Recreation staff about making a donation to help Moorestonians affected by the pandemic, they partnered with the Moorestown Rotary Club to form the Moorestown Neighbors Helping Neighbors hotline. Over 50 volunteers have signed up, and nearly $10,000 donated, to provide groceries for Moorestonians who are unable to leave their homes or who are experiencing financial difficulties because of the COVID-19 crisis. (If you need assistance, call 856–437–0305 or email MoorestownCOVID19Help@gmail.com).
Even though the Moorestown sports teams aren’t able to play the sports they love, they aren’t just sitting around. They organized a town-wide food drive to help resupply the local food banks so no one will go hungry during this crisis. The first Moorestonian to test positive for COVID-19 has thankfully recovered and is now encouraging us to give ourselves much-needed haircuts and donate the money we’re saving to the food banks. If you are noticing more bald people in town, this is why! (Donate at https://bit.ly/COVIDHaircuts.)
And there’s more, but I’m out of space. I am deeply touched and so very proud of these efforts happening in Moorestown, but I must say, I am not surprised. This is, after all, what Moorestown does: when the times are tough, when someone is struggling, when our neighbors need us — we step up and take care of each other. I have never been more proud to be a Moorestonian than I have been through this crisis. Hang in there, Moorestown. We will get through this together and I look forward to celebrating with you — hopefully soon — when this crisis is over.
If you know of other efforts to help, or people or organizations in need, please email me at email@example.com.