The ripple effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have been felt far and wide. Many businesses and organizations are struggling. Our local hospitals and medical professionals need supplies and could use help even in small ways.
Many different efforts are underway to help those in need, either by donating food and water, monetary donations or simply sending a brief thank you video. As more stories emerge, we’ll compile them in one spot here.
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“We would like to start a free service twice a week to provide our disabled, elderly and people in need within the Riverhead area with supplies to keep them safe and healthy during this time. The less they are exposed to potentially life-threatening ailments, the better.
“We are partnering with the First Baptist Church of Riverhead along with Open Arms Food Pantry and The Butterfly Effect Project.
“We will be using our Montauk Iced Tea vehicles to deliver groceries and other items to people in need. We will be volunteering ourselves and along with members from the church and non-profit to make this happen. We will be taking necessary protective measures.”
COVID-19 Defense Fund
A collaboration of several local businessmen have joined forces to lend their particular skill sets in the battle against the novel coronavirus. Jamie Mills Mills, president of William J. Mills & Co., and his brother, vice president Bob, are working with Richard Vandenburgh, co-founder of Greenport Harbor Brewing Company; Bob Gammon, co-owner of Woodside Orchards in Jamesport; and Mark Miller, former owner of Miller Environmental to produce face shields for hospitals, first responders and community outreach volunteers.
Kent Animal Shelter
Kent Animal Shelter in Calverton is seeking emergency donations as the facility has closed its doors amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a newsletter March 30, Kent Animal Shelter said over the past week they “have worked diligently to get all 13 dogs rescued from a midwest puppy mill temporarily into foster homes. During the same week that the puppy mill rescues came to Kent, another transport with 14 dogs tagged to be destroyed at a Texas shelter came to the shelter just before we were forced to close.”
COVID-19 has impacted all operations for the shelter.
“We know it’s a very difficult time for everyone but if you are able, please consider a gift of any amount to help sustain the Kent Animal Shelter during this national crisis.”
North Fork Tech Project
Teachers associations across the North Fork are teaming up to provide Google Chromebooks to students in need. The North Fork Tech Project, comprised of educators from Oysterponds, Greenport, Southold, Mattituck-Cutchogue and Riverhead, pooled their resources to make an initial purchase of 50 Chromebooks—and they’re hoping to raise funds to help even more students.
“The number of computers that our schools have to give to families are finite,” said Riverhead Central Faculty Association president Gregory Wallace. “As teachers we are concerned that the most vulnerable of our students might not have the tools they need to succeed remotely. We are doing our best to ensure equity for all of our students during this time,” he said.
Chamber Community Outreach Program
The Riverhead Chamber of Commerce has set up a registration page to mobilize volunteers when needed. People who are asymptomatic, not under quarantine, have access to a vehicle and are willing to help can register here. The chamber will be working closely with Supervisor Yvette Aguiar and the Town of Riverhead to implement a Community Outreach Program. An initial focus will be on setting up a buddy system to reduce exposure in order to get food and essential items to seniors.
PBMC Meal Train
Volunteers can sign up for specific times via the meal train webpage that was just created and the effort began March 23. Donations are sought for bottled water, lunch and dinner.
Donations for Stony Brook Medicine
Stony Brook University and Stony Brook Eastern Long Island Hospital will be collecting donations of personal protective equipment, which will be distributed to staff at both hospitals. The university and ELIH community relations are currently accepting PPE donations that include face shields, N95 3M 1860 masks, protective eyewear, goggles, disinfectant wipes, hand sanitizer and other supplies required for staff safety. The PPE will be distributed to medical personnel to use while interacting with possible and known COVID-19 patients.
Long Island Aquarium seeks help
The coronavirus pandemic has forced the Long Island Aquarium to close its doors, as have many other “non-essential” businesses throughout the tri-state area.
The aquarium started a GoFundMe to help offset the lack of revenue that’s used to keep the operations going and to care for more than 5,000 animals.
“We have a large team of caretakers that still must go to work each day to feed, care and clean for all of our animals,” the GoFundMe said. “As an aquarium, we have tanks that must run on electricity all day, every day.”
Funds for CAST
Community Action Southold Town’s food costs have increased dramatically — from about $1,200 a week to now $5,000 a week.
“We are making three and four runs to Riverhead to shop for food,” said Cathy Demeroto, CAST’s executive director.
To help fill the monetary gap, former Greenport mayor David Kapell and his family have stepped into the breech with a GoFundMe page that in just 24 hours has raised over $4,000 from community residents determined to help those who need it.
RISE Life Services seeks masks
RISE Life Services on East Main Street in Riverhead is facing a shortage of face masks used when dealing with developmentally disabled individuals living at one of its 32 group homes in Suffolk County.