It all started with feelings of concern for fellow Bayville residents, followed by some phone calls. They work at Glen Cove Hospital and continue to do so even during the coronavirus pandemic.
“I’m a Bayville mom,” said Lauren Themis, a Bayville resident. “A couple of girlfriends, a group of us started sending meals to families.”
And when word got out that meals were being sent to families of health care workers, more people wanted to get involved, including fellow resident Heather Hotine, a real estate agent with Signature Premier Properties.
Hotine had seen a group on Facebook called Huntington Hospital Meals, where community members donate money so that local restaurants can prepare meals for the hospital staff. “I was hoping to capture what they were doing and bring it here,” Hotine said. “I hope other communities will see what we’re doing and bring it to theirs.”
Since then, Themis, Hotine and Dana Palmieri, also of Bayville, have used Facebook and GoFundMe to raise money to provide meals for health care workers at Glen Cove Hospital through local restaurants, caterers and delis. So far, the three have raised over $14,000 on GoFundMe.
“The [community] has really done a fantastic job,” said Allison Tiberio, a physician's assistant in Glen Cove Hospital’s Emergency Department. “They’re doing everything we need them to do.”
By supporting health care workers, the three also said that they’re supporting local eateries by providing them with business. Themis said that local businesses have always supported the community and that they hope to return the favor.
“We wanna make sure we put back the money we raise into our community through local restaurants and delis and establishments,” Themis said, adding that “we’re trying to support [health care workers] by sending them healthy, hearty, sustainable meals that they can grab individually . . . have a good meal while they are away from home and then go back to the front lines.”
This week, the three took it beyond Glen Cove Hospital by providing the Cerebral Palsy Association of Nassau County, or CP Nassau, with not only meals but also cards of support through local Girl Scout troops. CP Nassau in Bayville, a residency that houses individuals with cerebral palsy and other developmental disabilities, is currently facing an outbreak of Covid-19. Ten residents have been hospitalized and 37 out of the home’s 46 residents have the virus.
“It definitely not easy because working with people with developmental disabilities is very different than your average patient,” Patricia Quinn, the director of community outreach at CP Nassau, said.
She added that social distance is difficult to maintain with the residents because their care requires close contact. Some residents are not able to walk on their own and others need to be lifted by more than one person. “We sometimes run short of protective equipment,” Quinn said. “So sometimes we have to improvise. There was a point where we ran out of the gowns and we actually had to use like giant plastic garbage bags and cut them. Luckily, people have come through with more supplies.”
Palmieri, who leads Girl Scouts Troop 200, had asked the girls in her troop and other surrounding troops to make cards for the staff. After CP Nassau received the package of support, they called and asked if they could get some meals.
“It’s done a lot to raise their spirits,” Quinn said. “It’s really nice to feel appreciated because they really are working so hard day and night under really hard conditions. And they’re doing it with love, but when people in the community do reach out with meals, cards and donations, it really does mean a lot to everybody.”
Hotine emphasized that Bayville is a community of people that watches out for each other and takes care of their own, including health care workers, fellow residents and business owners.
Themis said that meals will be provided to health care facilities until they run out of the funds to do so.
Learn more about the “Meals for Glen Cove Hospital and Support Professionals” fundraiser at https://www.facebook.com/groups/665563247603328/.
Inquire about donating meals, supplies or money to CP Nassau by email at PQuinn@cpnassau.org.