Support the Community and Celebrate Essential Workers
By: Olivia Frasca
Although the COVID-19 outbreak has banned in-person gatherings and forced social distancing measures, Staten Islanders have been coming together in a different way to support health care workers, local businesses, and each other.
The past few months have shown the importance of essential workers and first responders in providing necessary services to our community. One of the many ways that residents are giving thanks is by cheering from their homes at 7:00 pm daily to acknowledge the courageous efforts of health care workers.
Many are struggling to cope with the abrupt transition to quarantine and the uncertainty that comes with it. The ongoing public health crisis may have put normalcy on hold, but the spirit of giving is stronger than ever throughout the borough.
The pandemic marks a significant pivot for some businesses and organizations. CSI Chazanoff School of Business alum Kevin Ferger is using the resources from his 3D printing company, Solvelight Robotics, to build masks for hospitals.
According to his GoFundMe page, a mask costs just $4 to make. Ferger has been posting updates on recent deliveries, including donations to Richmond University Medical Center. Click here to donate to the cause and view the company’s progress.
La Colmena, an immigrant job center organization, and MakerSpace NYC have partnered to create face coverings for frontline workers on Staten Island too.
“Despite being excluded from federal emergency relief and unemployment insurance, Staten Island immigrants are still supporting frontline workers, like bus drivers, police officers and nurses, by sewing and donating face masks to them so they can be safe,” said immigration advocate Cesar Vargas to silive.
Stapleton-based MakerSpace NYC has dedicated its facilities and equipment to producing PPE. They are currently collecting donations here.
Project Hospitality, located at 514 Bay Street, accepts and encourages donations on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 8:00 am – 1:00 pm. The food bank has received generous contributions over the past few weeks and serves as a major provider on the island.
Public schools are also getting involved in supporting essential workers. Last month, Great Kills High School organized a GoFundMe page for food deliveries with contributions that totaled over $5000.
“Deliveries were sent to local police precincts, firehouses, EMS, NYC Health + Hospitals/SeaView, Staten Island University Hospital (SIUH) in Ocean Breeze and Prince’s Bay, and Richmond University Medical Center (RUMC). Food was also delivered to the borough’s three Regional Enrichment Centers (RECs) that provide child care to essential workers and first responders,” according to silive.
Although in-person gatherings have been postponed or canceled, people are getting creative with alternative ways to celebrate birthdays and graduations. Zoom parties and drive-by celebrations continue to spread positivity and deliver just as much pomp and circumstance.
Staten Islanders are doing their part to stop the spread, support local businesses, and celebrate our frontline workers when they need it most.