Updated: Jun 10, 2020
Coronavirus has claimed NYC as its epicenter, putting a halt to the city that never sleeps. But New Yorkers are strong, resilient and have a “can’t be stopped” attitude - Governor Cuomo recently called it New York Tough. As the late radio host Barry Gray used to say, “a New Yorker is someone who wakes up, sees the city is underwater, and swims to work”, and BHS agents have been doing extra laps. As organizations set up donations, our agents have been the boots on the ground, doing everything they can to help fight the battle against COVID-19, from feeding social workers to organizing curbside pickups.
NYC Face Mask Initiative
Park Slope agent Leigh Wallace is a long-time member of the NYC Fair-Trade Coalition. When she heard that the NYC Face Mask Initiative was launched by a fellow member, she got involved immediately to help coordinate logistics and distribution. Within just a couple of weeks, she and her team were able to create a bin system throughout NYC using Google Maps that allowed volunteer drivers to deliver fabric kits to bins, and sewers to pick up kits and drop off washed masks to hospitals and clinics.
In addition to helping frontline workers, the NYCFMI has a second goal - to help the volunteer sewers and tailors who lost their jobs. Once the initiative reaches its initial goal of 35,000 masks, the funding surplus will be distributed to unemployed sewers and tailors who are offering their services free of charge.
With the help of Leigh and the other 300 volunteers, $12,000 has been raised and over 10,000 masks have been delivered to 70+ hospitals and clinics in the metro area.
Feed NYC's Frontline with Mr Paris Catering
During separate conversations about the impact of COVID-19 with his girlfriend, whose family members are healthcare workers, and his good friend who owns a restaurant in the East Village, it dawned on BHS agent Aviv Siso that he might be able to help two causes at once by connecting the two. With the help of his girlfriend Lauren and his friend and owner of Mr Paris Catering, Nir, they were able to quickly get to work and organize food deliveries from Mr Paris to hospitals in and around NYC. Many similar initiatives have been launched since Coronavirus has begun to spread, but this one is slightly different - it has a specific focus on hospitals and small clinics that are less known, but in dire need of help. Woodhull Hospital Center, Kings County Hospital Center and Roosevelt Island Hospital are just a few that Aviv and his team have delivered to, with second rounds on the way.
As of today, Aviv, Lauren and Nir have raised over $10,000 and delivered over 550 meals to doctors, nurses and staff.
Mt. Sinai Emergency Room Staff Meals
Downtown agent Gitu Ramani Ruff has started an online initiative called Mt. Sinai Emergency Room Staff Meals, which helps schedule the delivery of meals to frontline healthcare workers at the Mt. Sinai ER. Gitu recognized that not only are hospitals feeling the impact of the virus, but small businesses as well. She was looking for a way to offer relief to both, and was able to accomplish that through her online sign-up sheet. Gitu has made it easy for participants to sign up for lunch or dinner slots that will provide roughly 10-20 meals for staff members throughout 2 weeks. By participating in this initiative you are not only helping out the hero’s in hospitals, but also local restauranteurs who are experiencing an economic downturn.
Gitu has been in touch with ER staff at Mt. Sinai who have expressed great gratitude and are appreciative of all that she and other participants have done to help this grim situation. She is extremely inspired and plans to extend her initiative to other hospitals and larger staff groups.
Click here to sign up, and keep an eye out for future dates and slots as Gitu continues to add more weekly!
BrooklynCoronavirus Facebook Group
Brooklyn Heights agent Lee Solomon has taken to social media to help fight COVID-19. Lee realized the severity of the virus early on, and in February she launched the Facebook group BrooklynCoronavirus. The public group serves to help people learn about, and avoid transmission from the novel coronavirus, as well as to set up a repository of info about local resources. Once it became clear that transmission was happening faster than many anticipated, she encouraged early members of the group to quickly spin off mutual aid groups to serve their neighborhoods. With the help of the group’s co-admin Jill Cornell, she and Lee grew the group to 2,335 members, with new members joining and contributing every day.
Feeding the Homeless with H3
While NYC has taken the hardest hit, other states continue to to face challenging times as well. Sabra Kirkpatrick is a BHS agent in Palm Beach who has devoted her time to packing bags of food with an organization called Hospitality Helping Hands (H3). H3 was spearheaded by restauranteur Rodney Mayo after making the tough decision to lay off 650 employees. What originally started off as a small act of kindness to help laid off hospitality workers quickly flourished into an inspiring initiative that would end up feeding the homeless and other unserved communities.
H3 has served over 110,000 meals. Click here to learn more about H3 and donate to the cause.