By Samantha Hart
The “Jersey 4 Jersey” benefit concert aired Wednesday night on radio, online and on TV stations in the state, New York and Pennsylvania, raising money for the New Jersey Pandemic Relief Fund.
The concert series opened with Bruce Springsteen and Patti Scialfa Young singing “Land of Hope and Dreams,” setting the tone for what the event had in store: Hope.
“I’m always proud of Jersey,” said Jon Stewart, a New Jersey native. “But I am never more proud of this state than when we have our backs against the wall and we all come together and we all show the unity and the can-do spirit that I know we have.”
The event was filled with short performances from New Jersey natives like Springsteen, Jon Bon Jovi, Halsey, Fountains of Wayne and several more. Many celebrities joined in to preach supporting the cause, including New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley, Stephen Colbert and Chelsea Handler, who comedically showed off her bra-for-a-face-mask invention.
Between those performers and celebrity excerpts were stories told by those on the frontline and people in the community giving back despite the fear of losing almost everything.
The threat of not returning to normalcy soon puts many small business owners in jeopardy. Teachers are struggling to make connections with students, as well as in person, but despite the additional stress, teachers across New Jersey are exceeding expectations to make their students feel comfortable.
The volunteers in the community didn’t hesitate to help those in need despite being in need themselves. The frontline workers delivering meals to those in need shows that love and unity is the only way to come out of this alive.
“These are the type of people who are going to get us through this,” Stewart said.
The nurses of New Jersey, and everywhere around the world, are struggling.
“If you want to bless somebody who is a real hero, bless a nurse because what they do is really dangerous,” said Dr. Wayne Robinson, a respiratory therapist from Englewood.
Not only do nurses risk their lives helping strangers, but they also risk their lives to help their co-workers who have caught the novel-coronavirus while on the job.
“I guess you might say I had a dance with death” said Dr. James Pruden, an ER physician from Paterson. “It started off just like a cold … and by the end of my shift, I knew I was more than sick with the cold. Then I got admitted, then not much else mattered.”
After being admitted on March 6, Pruden was sent to the ICU, intubated twice, and said he lost 100 pounds before being released on April 8. He received applause from nurses, police, firefighters and residents in the community on his release from the hospital.
“As far as coronavirus goes, most of us are going to survive,” Pruden said. “And we’re going to survive even better if we work together.”
To donate, you can call 844-NJRELIEF (844-657-3543) or go to NJPRF.org.
Photo by Nancy Ayala
Comedian Jon Stewart does his part to raise money for his home state.