Since last connecting with Heather Paglia ’25 in April, she and her brother Drew have taken huge strides in their campaign to support those impacted by COVID-19. Most recently, Heather’s service was recognized by The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards and she was named one of New Jersey’s Top Youth Volunteers of 2021 out of over 21,000 applicants.
Not only will Heather receive a $2,500 scholarship and a silver medallion for her service but she will also receive an invitation to the national recognition celebration in April. At the ceremony, ten of the 102 New Jersey honorees will be named America’s top youth volunteers of the year. If selected, Heather will earn an additional $5,000 scholarship, a gold medallion, a crystal trophy, and a $5,500 grant for a nonprofit charitable organization of her choice.
What started out as a campaign to donate just five dollars to support local small businesses and frontline workers affected by COVID-19 has skyrocketed into over $117,000 in donations, over 6,000 pounds of food donations, 3,000 pairs of shoes donated to developing countries, several thousand holiday gifts delivered to kids and families, and 1,500 coats and winter accessories donated to local charities.
April 2020 Update: When Heather Paglia ’25 and her brother Drew first set out to support small businesses, healthcare workers, and senior citizens in the fight against COVID-19, the goal was to raise $25,000. In just a few short months, that goal is in their rear view mirror. Since April, Heather and her brother have raised $25,930 with a new goal of $1,000,000.
Their campaign, 5help.org has supported six states thus far stretching from New Jersey to Nevada and they have gained significant recognition amongst the healthcare community. Most recently, Heather and her brother Drew secured a partnership with The NJ EMS Task Force -- the task force even paid a visit to the Paglia household to thank the two for all they have done to support those in need during the pandemic.
5Help is also an official non-profit corporation and pending 501(c)(3) status will be named 5Help Foundation. Along with all the work they have been doing to support the greater community, Heather and Drew also plan to partner with The Reeve Foundation, a charity dedicated to finding a treatment and cure for spinal cord injuries, to raise money as those with spinal injuries are at high risk for COVID-19.
Heather notes that she is in this for the long haul, and after the pandemic has run its course, she plans to continue to find opportunities to raise money to help those in need.
Original Story: Heather Paglia ’25 and her brother Drew are on a mission to support small business, first responders, senior citizens, and more with just $5 at a time.
What started out as a local fundraiser quickly turned into a national campaign when the two saw how fast their community came together and joined their movement.
This brother-sister team is raising money to help ensure that the small businesses that our country is built on remain alive once the COVID-19 pandemic has passed. They’ve already raised $19,000.
With the money they raise, Heather and Drew will be purchasing gift cards from small businesses and distributing them amongst healthcare workers, first responders, senior citizens, as well as patients who have just been released from the hospital.
During their interview on Fox and Friends with Ainsley Earnhardt on Wednesday morning, Drew and Heather expressed that when the COVID-19 pandemic began, they knew the small businesses in their area were going to suffer, so they wanted to help, while also paying tribute to the heroes on the front lines who are saving lives.
“I wanted to do my small part to help the economy and at the same time show appreciation and thank our heroes on the front lines,” Heather said. “Healthcare workers are working around the clock and don’t have time for a warm meal or to take care of things at home. They don’t get to see their families who are missing them. While we are all home together, they are not.”
With Heather and Drew’s national campaign gaining traction fast, they are challenging you to join them in making a difference with just $5.
For more information on Heather and Drew’s campaign or to donate, visit https://5help.org/.