The Town of Hempstead provided 10,000 masks and 50 PPE kits to the Village of Freeport on Nov. 5.
The masks and kits, which were filled with sanitizing supplies, were sorted at Village Hall and will be distributed to local businesses not only to help combat the spread of Covid-19, but also to offset the supply costs that many businesses have been burdened with amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“It’s important that we do what we can to make sure everyone is safe and secure,” said Town Councilwoman Dorothy Goosby, a Democrat from Hempstead.
“The businesses in the village have seen a financial shortcoming caused by the pandemic, so we thank the town for their donation,” Freeport Mayor Robert Kennedy added. “The pandemic is still here, and affecting our village.”
Freeport is the third-hardest-hit community in Nassau County, with more than 1,900 positive cases as of this week, behind only the villages of Hempstead and Valley Stream.
While cases began to slow at the end of the summer, Freeport has seen about 200 more since Aug. 10.
Despite the increase, county and village officials said the slow rise was attributable to increased testing in the community, and urged residents to continue following social-distancing and other Covid-19 regulations.
Earlier in the year, the Town of Hempstead was awarded about $133 million in federal CARES Act funding for economic relief programs to help local businesses cover Covid-related expenses, with nearly $3 million of that funding going to help local hospitals conduct Covid-19 and antibody testing in communities like Freeport.
The CARES Act funding also allowed the town to buy the masks and PPE kits for Freeport, explained Town Councilman Anthony Esposito, who chairs the Town of Hempstead’s Coronavirus Task Force.
“We’ve worked together with the village through the pandemic, and we’re glad to be able to bring much needed PPE to Freeport,” Esposito said.
Jenny Jorge, president of the Freeport Chamber of Commerce, said that having enough PPE was essential for local businesses during the pandemic. Jorge, vice president of operations at Gala Foods Supermarket, said the PPE was not only essential for conducting business, but also for the local relief work that dozens of Freeport businesses have done over the last eight months.
Gala Foods Supermarket provided free delivery services to local seniors and homebound residents, as well as donated $2,500 in gift cards to the Our Holy Redeemer Church food pantry. Local restaurants also engaged in volunteer work, like Halfway Down, whose owners donated thousands of meals to local hospitals, and barbershops like TRIMZ, which partnered with the county to distribute school supplies to local children.
“Our businesses have been through so much, but we want to be here for our community,” Jorge said.
The Village of Freeport had its own mask distribution site at Village Hall for local residents, being the first village in the state to do so in May. Freeport police officers around the village also handed out free masks to residents and visitors.
Kennedy said the PPE provided by the Town of Hempstead would be distributed to local businesses in the coming days.
The town continues to hold its PPE program, through which local businesses can request PPE kits. Each kit includes a contactless infrared thermometer, five face shields, 400 masks, 200 gloves, two gallons of hand sanitizer and a canister of 1,500 sanitizing wipes. Requests for kits are fulfilled on a first-come, first-served basis.
To qualify for the program, businesses must have 20 or fewer full-time employees and not have received previous PPE kits through the county’s Boost Nassau program.
To apply for the program, go to hempsteadny.gov/ppe-giveaway.