Sharena Conte and Debora Ferrante did not wait for a call from a government official or a private organization when the Long Beach schools announced last Friday that classes were suspended in an attempt to halt the spread of the coronavirus.
They knew how serious the situation was, and they swung into action.
Conte and Ferrante, who met over seven years ago when they volunteered to help deliver food supplies to seniors during Superstorm Sandy, formed an organization, LBNY Seniors Helping Seniors. When school was let out the two women took to Facebook and began asking for food donations for seniors.
They set up drop off points at the VFW Hall at 675 W. Park Ave.and St., James Church at 75 Olive St., both in Long Beach,
They bundled up bags of food and delivered them Friday, March 20, to about 100 seniors, outside the Long Beach House Office on Center Street.
"We find this important," said Ferrante. "There are many seniors who have compromised immune systems and have trouble shopping and getting around."
The two women found it easier to just go out and solicit donations and hand out what food they had, rather than seek help from a government organization. "There's a lot of red tape with the government," said Conte. "We find this easier."
Ferrante and Conte have become fast friends since their days working on Sandy relief. Conte was a Bride's Maid at Ferrante's wedding 18 months ago.
Conte said her late grandmother, Leanna Powell, worked to help poor seniors years ago in Roosevelt.
"I was compelled to do this work because of her," Conte said.