Since the pandemic reached quarantine status in March, local businesses and the community have rallied around Roxborough Memorial Hospital and its staff. More than 100 local businesses have stepped up to make donations.
The flags appeared one morning a few weeks ago, American flags lining the perimeter of the Roxborough Memorial Hospital property.
Then, the cheerily chalked sidewalks began popping up, as well as giant homemade banners reading “Thank You Hospital Staff!!!”
As the weeks passed and the hospital became entrenched in a long battle with an unseen enemy, the donations and well-wishes suddenly began flooding in: food, medical supplies, letters and cards.
This is how Roxborough loves its community hospital, and this is how a community rallies around an establishment that has been a constant, a comfort and a lifesaver for more than a century on Ridge Avenue.
It is said that everyone in Roxborough is somehow connected with the hospital in one way or another. Since it opened first as a hospital in 1890, and as a nursing school in 1898, it has served primarily Roxborough and its residents.
“It is truly amazing to see,” said Michelle Aliprantis, regional director of business development, marketing and communications for Roxborough Memorial, Suburban Community, and Lower Bucks Hospitals. “The community just loves this hospital. Everyone has either had a family member who works here or they’ve been here.”
Since the pandemic reached quarantine status in March, the community, especially local businesses, have rallied around the hospital and its staff. More than 100 local businesses have stepped up to make donations. The hospital has not actively solicited a single donation in the past two months, said Aliprantis, who has been sharing the community’s big-hearted response via the hospital’s Facebook page. "We don't reach out to people," she said. "We get calls from people looking to donate."
“We don’t reach out to people. We get calls from people looking to donate.” - Michelle Aliprantis, Roxborough Memorial Hospital
As of now, Aliprantis has scheduled deliveries from local businesses and individuals for a solid two weeks, and the donations just keep on coming. For hospital staff, who are working long hours at full throttle, it is a welcome comfort.
“The staff has been so thankful, especially during this difficult time,” Aliprantis said. “The donations from local businesses have done so much to boost their morale. We are committed to the health and safety of this community… and this makes you realize how much the community rallies around the hospital.”
While some calls to offer donations have resulted in meals for staff, coffee and an endless chain of letter and cards from nearby schools and churches, still other businesses have taken their philanthropy a step further.
Brian Paule, a Roxborough Development Corporation board member, is also the COO of the Galman Group, a property management company that has been devoted to Roxborough and its residents since its inception there 40 years ago.
The Galman Group owns hundreds of apartments on Ridge Avenue alone, including Ridge View and Rock Hill. The company began in Roxborough and is now based in Jenkintown, but so many employees are natives of Roxborough that the company wanted to help the hospital in some way and show staff they are supporting all they are doing. The Galman Group has been invested in Roxborough for years.
“We are huge Roxborough fans,” said Paule. “Roxborough is great because everybody knows everybody.”
So Galman Group president Sam Goldstein partnered with his friend Joe Hurwitz of Ace Design in Bristol, a company which typically does graphics and retail displays. This month, the facility pulled together its collective resources, as well as crowd funding donations from a GoFundMe page, to manufacture face shields for Roxborough Memorial doctors and nurses.
The shields are made of plexiglass and have Velcro to adjust fit. Ace Designs had hoped to make 2,000 to help local hospitals. So far, it has cranked out 9,000.
“We reached out and so many people needed them,” said Ace Design’s Sheri Robertson. “We’ve gotten really good feedback.”
Many of the shields went to Roxborough Memorial Hospital last week, when Paule delivered them himself.
“It was great,” said Paule. “One of the things about this is that it’s shown me how great Philadelphia is and how well the community of Roxborough has come together. The staff and first responders are the real heroes of this pandemic.”
“It’s shown me how great Philadelphia is and how well the community of Roxborough has come together." - Brian Paule, The Galman Group
Over at Marchiano’s Bakery on Umbria Street, owner Kathy Marchiano was also determined to do something for the community hospital. This month, the bakery, a part of the local economy for nearly 40 years, made its famous specialty breads and tomato pies for essential workers, and delivered them to both Roxborough Memorial Hospital and Chestnut Hill Hospital.
“My husband always calls nurses angels,” said Marchiano. “He says ‘I like to feed the angels.’ It started to get to us that these people are putting their lives on the line every day for all of us."
“We thought they deserved a treat,” she said. “It’s a little thank you for putting their lives on the line.”