The Hidden Heroes of Our Nation—Spreading Hope Amidst a Crisis

The novel virus may be strong, but the hearts of our Eagles are stronger!

The global impact of COVID-19 has been a tragedy to us all, separating loved ones from each other while inflicting the world with an imminent yet unprecedented threat. With a large number of people unable to protect themselves, many have stepped in to help, whether by making a worldwide impact or supporting their local community. The Eagles from Edison High have taken strong initiative during this time as well.

The growing need to ensure safety during these times by using face masks is essential, but unfortunately, many people are unable to afford them. To combat this issue, Mrs. Sandra Ledda, fashion teacher at Edison High School, and her students have begun to sew masks for those in need. Initiated upon the requests of Pennington Quiltworks, JoAnn Fabrics and Fashion Supervisor Ms. Fischer, this effort began rapidly and made quick progress.

“I had emailed my Fashion and FCCLA students who had sewing machines at home asking them to help out. They were very eager to start sewing,” Ledda explains. Their efforts lead to the creation of over 100 masks, all of which were sent to local nursing homes and hospitals.

During this time, frontline workers, many of which are working solely to make a living, are left in a dangerous position. To combat this issue, the Meals for Medics initiative began. Meals for Medics was started by an ambitious group of friends who believed that there was a need to support frontline workers during these times.

“We saw how hard medical professionals were working and how much small businesses were struggling to stay afloat so we wanted to find a way to help both groups. We thought this would be the perfect way to address the problems and get the community involved too!” said Jessica Damanski, co-founder of the operation. Their first successful delivery was dropped off on June 2, to the Menlo Park Veterans Home, and their operation continues to operate during this time.

In addition to Mrs. Ledda’s operation, the mask-making effort is being carried out on a national level with SEWA International.

“[The North Jersey Chapter alone makes] 1500 face masks in 6 weeks. We send them to hospitals, first responders, police, etc. In total [we have] close to 44 chapters in the US,” said the North Jersey Chapter Assistant Coordinator of SEWA International. The nationwide impact this organization has had serves to play a major role in giving to those in need and those who continue to serve our country.

Additionally, Mr. Michael Glackin, history teacher from EHS who co-manages The Eagles Eye and Model United Nations, has been playing the bagpipe at funerals to comfort mourners and citizens alike. He does so while also being able to meet the restrictions of the pandemic.

“Since I was young, my father always said, ‘Do the right thing.’ Playing music, for some people, is an important part of the grieving process. Helping them do that is the right thing to do. With bagpipes, social distancing is relatively easy. They’re loud. I can easily stand 20-30 yards away and perform effectively,” Glackin said. His actions are much appreciated by the residents of the community, who seek comfort in the midst of their grievance. 

During these difficult times, children around the world and in Edison have found ways to spread hope by putting pictures of rainbows in windows. Musicians are finding ways to continue spreading hope to their fans. People across the globe are sacrificing their health and putting others first in an act of courage through their efforts as frontline workers. And people within their own communities are finding ways to support one another.