UPDATED on 04.08.2020
The local heroes who first come to mind are those brave essential workers reporting to their jobs and facing the public daily: our medical professionals, the NYPD, the FDNY, sanitation workers, grocery/stock clerks, laundromat staff, truckers, janitors, MTA workers, and postal and delivery workers.
There are also those in the community who saw other needs and chose to address them.
St. Nicks Alliance
As soon as the COVID 19 safety protocols went into effect St. Nicks Alliance began checking in on all the seniors in their several senior housing developments. They reached out to Southside United H.D.F.C., Los Sures, who offered access to their food pantry. Since March 24, they began delivering groceries, with the need doubling weekly. In addition, they have created a network of staff and volunteers to regularly call over 500 seniors to check in on how they are doing emotionally and physically, and addressing any worries or issues. They are looking into forms of entertainment for the seniors to increase their wellbeing, and expanding into other forms of outreach. For more information on St. Nicks Alliance: www.stnicksalliance.org If you’d like a more daily update as to St. Nicks Alliance’s efforts visit their blog on their COVID 19 efforts.
North Brooklyn Angels
North Brooklyn Angels hasn’t let COVID 19 stop them. Instead they have had to increase their capacity as the need for their free meals has increased. Effective March 20, with the help of Assemblyman Lentol’s office, North Brooklyn Angels was identified an Essential Business. “We have and we will continue to prepare and distribute over 1200 weekly meals. NOTE: We take the new health best practices, extremely seriously,” said Felice Kirby, Executive Director of the North Brooklyn Angels.
They are also adding the following (services among others): packing and distributing extra meals to take home/give to a neighbor; collecting safely handled unsold food & groceries from area restaurants and repackaging for local distribution; collecting full grocery/pantry bags for redistribution to local pantries and neighbors.
Starting on April 7, the North Brooklyn Angels have changed their meal distribution method from the Angelmobile to prepackaged meals to the usual distribution sites via van to minimize physical contact. The need for meals has increased, sometimes doubling at some sites. During the first week of April a total of 1800 meals were distributed.
For more information on The North Brooklyn Angels: www.northbrooklynangels.org
Mario Salerno, has always given back to the community he has called home since birth. As owner of Salerno Service Station (451 Lorimer Street) he regularly sponsors Holiday lights and supports community efforts. His latest act of extraordinary personal generosity has gone above and beyond, and leading by example he raises the bar for other landlords. He owns residential buildings and commercial properties and decided to inform all his tenants they did not owe April’s rent due to the COVID 19 Crisis. His residential tenants live in 80 units, so this is no small measure.
In an interview on NBC 4 New York, Salerno stated his reason for forgiving April’s rent payment, “For me, it was more important for people’s health and worrying about who could put food on whose table. I say don’t worry about paying me, worry about your neighbor and worry about your family.” Salerno informed his tenants by posting letters around his buildings on Monday, March 30.