At the risk of being crass, this was a hell of a week and, frankly, we just wanted to share some good news with you. With so much happening so fast, it’s easy to miss a lot of the good going on around us while trying to stay vigilant and safe from all the hazards coronavirus is throwing our way.
But it’s important to take note of those good things — big and small — that show who we are as a county. Here are eight good things that happened in Westchester this week.
Current Spirits, the new distillery from the Captain Lawrence Brewing Co., recently ramped up production, but not on booze. Distilling the CL beer they had on hand to over 190 proof, the team is forgoing turning that into vodka in favor of something a little bit more timely: hand sanitizer. A large portion will be donated directly to health workers and facilities, while a small amount will be sold retail through grocers like DeCicco & Sons.
For the third week in a row, Chappaqua’s Ibiza Kitchen is feeding anyone who’s hungry, no questions asked. So far they’ve given out more than a hundred hot meals, and they’ll be slinging even more on April 3 starting at 4 p.m.
Automated Marking Inc. in Armonk is working with medical suppliers and manufacturers, among others, to improve supply chains and actually extend the shelf life of critically needed products.
Women’s groups at the Wartburg senior care facility in Mount Vernon have likewise been sewing protective masks for direct care workers and essential staffers interacting with COVID-19 patients.
Even “man’s best friend” is getting in on the giving, as The Animal Specialty Center of Yonkers donated N95 masks, gowns and other PPEs, and even three desperately needed ventilators to St. Joseph’s Medical Center.
Plenty of locals are doing their part to support others on the front lines of this disease. Support Westchester COVID Local is a Facebook group dedicated to getting food delivered to local hospitals in these trying times.
A few residents you might have heard of, Bill and Hillary Clinton, chipped in as well, sending pizzas to the staff at multiple Westchester hospitals this week, including Blythedale Children’s Hospital!
Two local women, Aubrey Graf-Daniels and Melissa Tomlin, started asking their friends for $20 donations and eventually raised thousands of dollars to buy lunch from local struggling restaurants and provide them to healthcare workers. In their first delivery, more than a hundred meals worth of tacos from Cantina Taco and Tequila Bar fed the delighted crew at White Plains Hospital this week.
Meanwhile, the Junior League of Bronxville delivered 32 trays of fresh-baked cookies to the staff at St. Joseph’s Medical Center in Yonkers!
If you’re looking for a way to help yourselves, Food for the Front Line in Westchester is raising money through a GoFundMe page to purchase lunch for three different local hospitals from Westchester’s restaurant community.
Pelham Cares: Neighbor to Neighbor has raised more than $30,000 in just 48 hours to purchase food from local local restaurants to be delivered to healthcare workers.There first delivery supplied more than 550 meals to hospitals in New Rochelle, Bronxville, and the Bronx.
With help from the National Guard, local combater of food insecurity Feeding Westchester managed to package the first of 5,000 bags of shelf-stable food — plus an additional 4,000 breakfast bags — last week, for delivery to New Rochelle families of students who rely on schools’ free and reduced meal plans for basic nutrition.
“As Westchester’s leading nonprofit hunger-relief organization, we are anticipating greater need in New Rochelle and across the county,” says VP of Development Matt Honeycutt. “We are bringing in additional resources, including from Feeding America and other partners. We are looking into how we can get ahead of this proactively by getting food into people’s homes now.”
Feeding Westchester also got a much needed boost this week from MetLife Foundation, who donated $200,000 to the organization. Yogurt giant Chobani also donated 35,000 yogurt, dairy creamer, and oat beverage products to the city to help families who typically rely on free and reduced meal plan services in schools to provide their children with the recommended daily nutrition.
Former 914INC. Wunderkind Daniel Bonnet is also working with the guard to clean buildings and prepare emergency food and supplies in New Rochelle. Bonnet is currently about halfway to the goal of raising $20,000 for New Rochelle Community Action Program (CAP), a part of the Westchester Community Opportunity Program.
“We’ve just set up a GoFundMe account that has agreed to eliminate all fees, so that donations will go directly to WestCOP to support the continued buying of foods,” he says.
Family Services of Westchester also provided a record-breaking 1,000 mental health therapy sessions this week (by telephone and video chat, of course) to provide help to so many people now coping with increased stress and exacerbated conditions.The groups certified preschool teachers are also providing childcare for health workers and first responders in White Plains, while the FSW’s RideConnect program is transporting seniors to essential medical appointments, and even grocery shopping and medication delivery. They’ve even released $2,500 in grocery gift cards! Click here for volunteer info.
Volunteer New York! just established a Virtual Volunteer Center so Westchesterites can find all the different local COVID-19 related relief opportunities. The local nonprofit has also teamed up with Points of Light, George Bush Sr.’s volunteer foundation, to mark April as the first ever “Global Volunteer Month” with even more local opportunities.
Bestselling author and former New Rochelle resident Emily Liebert is donating copies of her new book Pretty Revenge to more than 100 families in New Rochelle’s containment zone.
“My husband and I lived in New Rochelle for over 10 years. We had both of our sons during that time and raised them as babies in that wonderful community,” Liebert says. “My hope is that my book offers a much-needed escape and that the time spent reading will make the isolation of quarantine more enjoyable.”
Anyone looking to request copies or get involved can contact Liebert or her publicist Kathleen Carter through the link above.
Meanwhile, Bronxville native and Sara Lawrence writing professor Eileen Moskowitz-Palma is hosting an online writing camp for kids over Zoom. Anyone who pre-orders her new book, Camp Clique gets to join. Email for more info.
When adults are worrying about how to shift an entire state and nation’s economy to telecommuting and keeping the suddenly unemployed fed, it’s sadly easy to forget to take time for our youngest residents.
Latimer, thankfully, is taking a precious few minutes of potential shuteye in what has to be a pretty sleepless week to read storybooks to help calm down and set everyone at ease.
Much as people like to joke about how often the WiFi goes out or how long it takes to get someone to come by and read the meter, ConEdison has our backs right now.
The regional utility company emailed customers this week to let them know no services will be shut off during this period for non-payment, late fees would be waived, as would no-access fees for unreadable meters, credit or debit card fees, and fees for refusing smart meters. Payment extensions can even be arranged online.
This week Westchester reopened more than 30 school locations to serve as childcare facilities for those who are right now some of the most important workers continuing to go out each day. Kids are checked for fever and flu-like symptoms at drop-off and kept in groups of no more than 12 while practicing social distancing. Care is available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. Full details and locations can be found here.
After investing so much in Westchester and New Rochelle in particular, RXR Realty has committed $1 million in relief funding to various local organizations. Upfront, the company is earmarking $50,000 each for WestCOP and HOPE Community Services, plus $8,000 to The Guidance Center of Westchester.
Credit Suisse in Yonkers also just donated 60,000 masks to the nearby St. Joseph’s Medical Center.
Up north in Peekskill, Bantam Tools is donating their desktop tool milling machines to those working on creating COVID-19 parts and innovative solutions. Click the link to submit a request today. The company is also holding weekly “Engineering From Home” livestreams to talk tech with makers, engineers, and other fabricators.
In the wake of so many concerts and art events being canceled, it’s nice to see one added to our calendar. Country music star and Yorktown resident Jessica Lynn held the first of what is hoped to be a series of intimate Living Room Concerts on Saturday, March 21 at 4 p.m.
Hoping the raise awareness for artists whose income streams are effectively put on hold by coronavirus, the session includes a Q&A with Lynn. Tickets are pay-what-you-want for the series, with a minimum of just $5 per show, allowing your entire family to rock out around the TV/computer for less than you’d pay for a beverage at most rock halls.
With the closing of Westchester’s restaurants and other service industry businesses comes the effective layoffs of thousands of local wage workers.
Several leading Westchester industry professionals, including Louie Lanza of multiple Peekskill bars and restaurants, Scott Vaccaro of Captain Lawrence Brewing Co. — which is using its beer production tools to instead churn out upwards of 1,000 gallons of soup each day! — Mogan Anthony of Village Hospitality Group, Navjot Aroroa of Chutney Masala, and others, have joined the vision of Chef Erik Korn to pledge their time, money, and resources to shift to producing nutritious and long-lasting soup to as many people as they can, starting first with their own industry workers now left hanging by the economic shutdown. See how you can help online.